It has become known as ‘Barçagate’ and the details of the case have now been highlighted and explained by Marca to give a greater understanding of Monday’s developments.
The case relates to the Catalan giants hiring the company I3 Ventures to carry out an online campaign targeting consumers which would double-up as a smear campaign against the political opponents of Bartomeu and the then-board of the Blaugrana.
In February 2020, Cadena Ser’s El Larguero show revealed documents which appeared to show the club paying a third party to damage the reputation of individuals, with the story then gaining traction in Barcelona news.
I3 Ventures is a company owned by Argentine businessman Carlos Ibáñez with the documents showing an agreement dedicated to discredit, defame and question Bartomeu’s opponents.
It is claimed that the club paid I3 Ventures €1m per year for the agreement but the individual payments were never for more than €200k and came from different departments of the club.
The payments were made to I3 Ventures SL but also NSG Social Science Ventures SL, Tantra Soft SA, Digital Side SA, Big Data Solutions SA and Futuric SA – all companies linked to Carlos Ibáñez.
Last September, El Mundo highlighted that the payments processed by the club to the company I3 Ventures and associated companies were six times higher than their market value.
Cadena Ser’s El Larguero show presented a 36-page document that claimed proof of the agreement between the Blaugrana and I3 Ventures.