Joan Laporta has claimed that there are "certain powers" at Barcelona who want Lionel Messi out of the club.
Laporta on Saturday accused Josep Maria Bartomeu's board of letting Messi down during his tax ordeal, and the former Barca President time wasted no time in escalating his criticism by fuelling talk of a conspiracy behind the scenes at Camp Nou, geared towards forcing the Argentine to leave.
"There are certain powers [at Barca] who want Messi to no longer be a Barca player," he told Catalunya Radio.
"What the justice system says is respectable, but what's clear is that Messi pays his taxes and pays a lot [into the Spanish state].
"For me, Barca are more than a club, whom I had the honour of leading.
"[My] model worked because it made the club more recognisable and beloved. Unfortunately, that's not the case anymore.
"[Barca's pact with prosecutors over Neymar] is shameful, sinister and has tarnished the club forever.
"[On the club's quest for a new sponsor, Bartomeu's regime] said in the last election campaign that they'd sign a sponsorship [deal] worth €60m, which seemed little even then.
"There's a shadow of suspicion in their agreement [with Qatar]. They are paying the club less than they should be, in my opinion."