Mystery $17mn Payment By FC Barcelona Could Relate To Potential Criminal Case And Griezmann

FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta held a press conference on Tuesday where he gave a rundown of the club’s financial predicament and brushed on one related topic that could have severe consequences for those allegedly involved.

According to Laporta, a third-party forensic investigation has revealed that predecessor Josep Bartomeu’s board made unjustified payments to lawyers and journalists while paying commissions to agents of more than 30% which is way above the industry standard 5%.

The Blaugrana estimate a cost of around €30mn ($34mn) to the cash-strapped club for these payments with Laporta saying they “might also constitute cases of unjust [personal] enrichment that require further investigation”.

To this end, a complaint has been filed with the prosecutor’s office in Barcelona for possible financial crimes.

“The members have the right to know the actions that have led the club to a ruinous situation,” said Laporta. “[A third-party investigation] has revealed a series of operations of considerable economic irrationality and, in short, unjustified payments, falsely justified payments or payments of disproportionate amounts.

“When the administration of a social entity presents such overwhelming suggestions of mismanagement, the criminal justice system is called upon to investigate and clarify any possible illicit diversions, abuses or enrichment.”

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By RAC1, however, a couple of days later, it has been revealed that Barca allegedly made a 2019 payment of €15mn ($17.1mn) to Atletico Madrid, who they face on Sunday at Camp Nou in La Liga.

Barca reportedly refused to hand over €20mn ($23mn) in commission to Mino Raiola so that he could convince Matthijs de Ligt to join from Ajax, and instead turned their attention towards another center back in Uruguay international Jose Maria Gimenez who demanded an €80mn ($91.5mn) release fee.

As Barca had just paid, or were about to pay, €120mn ($137mn) to similarly free Antoine Griezmann from his Atleti contract, the Catalans instead stumped up €15mn ($17.1mn) to secure Giminez at a later date in a deal that fell apart thanks to the pandemic.

This is allegedly the previous board’s version of events, and it is now up to the prosecutor’s office to decide if it is the truth.

Source

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