Last week, police arrested FC Barcelona’s former president Josep Maria Bartomeu and senior club officials over payments to I3 Ventures. New developments on the money’s final destination are fanning the Barçagate flames.
A report by Diario AS, states the payments processed by the club to I3 Ventures ended up with Catalan company Telam Partner. Cadena Ser claims there are suspicions this directly funded a pro-unity movement.
Societat Civil Catalana, a Barcelona-based organisation founded in 2014, counters the pro-independence movements. Its motto – Juntos y mejor (Together and better) – promotes unity with Spain in Catalonia.
Nearly €200,000 paid to Telam Partner
Spanish press agency EFE accessed financial documents which explain how €163,350 went from I3 Ventures to Telam Partner. The multiple payments for €16,335 or €32,670, occurred between the last quarter of 2017 and January 2020.
Telam’s statement confirms it contacted I3 Ventures with Barça in 2017. However, it disassociates itself from the irregularities currently under investigation by the Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalana police force).
Eroding rivals’ reputations
El Pais accessed the police statements of 13 Ventures employees. FC Barcelona officially hired the company to monitor social networks and improve the club image. These statements gave greater details of the club’s instructions.
The El Pais report claims some workers claim their job was to “erode” the image of Bartomeu’s rivals within the club. In the meanwhile, they praised the work of the then-president and his board.
The Barçagate investigation is ongoing and all those involved deny the allegations against them.