Barçagate: Payments from Barcelona suspected of funding anti Catalan independence movement

The arrest of the club’s former president Josep Maria Bartomeu and senior club officials has dominated Barcelona news this week and there is now a further development to the story.

As outlined by a report in Diario AS, the payments that the club processed towards the I3 Ventures company made their way to Catalan company Telam Partner with Cadena Ser claiming there are suspicions that this directly funded a movement promoting Catalonia’s unity with Spain.

Read more: Police reports reveal Barcelona arrests stand accused of “exceeding their administrative powers” to “erode” rivals

Societat Civil Catalana is a Barcelona-based grass-roots organisation founded in 2014 to counter the pro-independence movements within the north-eastern region and promote unity with Spain, with its motto: Juntos y mejor (“Better, together”).

The Spanish press agency EFE has accessed the financial documents which explain how €163,350 made its way from I3 Ventures to Telam Partner, with payments usually €16,335 or precisely double that amount – €32,670.

These payments took place between the last quarter of 2017 and January 2020, when the Barçagate situation was first revealed.

Read more: ‘Barçagate’: the case that led to the arrest of former Barcelona president Bartomeu

The executive director of Telam Partners, Jaime Malet Perdigo (also president of the United States Chamber of Commerce in Spain), and a partner, Javier Vega de Seoane, are patrons of the Joan Boscà Foundation – that claims to works in favour of “constitutional values”.

This Foundation was the intermediary to send the financing of large banking or telecommunications entities to Societat Civil Catalana – as reported by Catalan outlet Directa.

Telam has confirmed through a statement that it had contacted I3 Ventures with Barça in 2017, but has disassociated itself from the irregularities that are being investigated by the Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalana police force), as per El Nacional.

Bartomeu was arrested on Monday alongside his advisor Jaume Masferrer, the club’s CEO Óscar Grau and Román Gómez Punti, head of legal at the Camp Nou, with all four implicated in the case.

The investigation is ongoing and all those involved are denying allegations against them.

Tags Josep Maria Bartomeu
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