Monday, October 5, 2009

Barçagate (3) - New revelations in the press

In the hours and days after the publication by Catalan sports paper El Periódico of the report saying that Barcelona had been spying on four vice-presidents and the following press conference by Barcelona chief executive Joan Oliver explaining the version of the club, several media revealed new -and sometimes contradicting- details about what happened in March and April of this year.

1. What was in the security audit report?

Catalan newspaper El Periódico suggests they had access to the reports by describing that every page of the reports wears the logo of detective agency Método 3 and that they have an annex with copies of official documents.

The audits would have been ordered by Oliver, although it was a member of the club's security department who contacted the agency. The reports were ready after three weeks. To draw up the reports, people of the entourage of the four directors were discretely interviewed and official documents were looked at. The targets were not followed or spied upon.

The agency reportedly found flaws and a few irregularities regarding all vice-presidents, although all of these would be of minor importance. The audit has information on the business and economical activities of the investigated persons, their properties and their legal and tax situation. There is no reference to the fact that one of them could be being investigated by third persons.

There would be no references to the personal lives of the vice-presidents, except one mentioning of a legal dispute one of the four has with his former mother-in-law regarding the ownership of a company. Spanish sports paper As nevertheless claims that the reports include some very intimate details about the private lives of the directors.

Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia claims that vice-president Joan Franquesa was totally cleared by the background check. Although the other three vice-presidents (Joan Boix, Jaume Ferrer and Rafael Yuste) are convinced they are also clean, one of them would have some weak points.

2. What was the reason for the investigations, who found out and what happened when it was found out?

- Catalan radio station Catalunya Ràdio claims that it was Barcelona vice-president Joan Franquesa who asked the club to carry out a security audit to see if he would be able to run for president in 2010. Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo confirmed this version of the events. Madrid sports paper As claims that Franquesa contacted Barcelona head of security Xavier Martorell.

Barcelona chief executive Joan Oliver would then have decided on his own to also investigate the other three vice-presidents who could be a candidate in the elections.

During the investigations, Barcelona vice-president Jaume Ferrer reportedly found out something was going on and asked Barcelona president Joan Laporta for an explication. During a tense meeting, during which both men unconfirmedly would even have gotten physical, it was agreed that the vice-presidents would from now on be better informed about the club's activities.

- Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia on the other hand reports that the investigations were discovered when vice-president Franquesa saw a newspaper report about his person and was advised by his lawyer to investigate this. Two weeks later, his lawyer reportedly told him: "It's Barça who is investigating you."

Franquesa contacted Martorell, who confirmed him that Oliver had ordered the investigation. The matter was discussed at a board meeting, during which several board members asked for the dismissal of Oliver. Others directors wanted to resign themselves and put the case in the hands of the police.

- Catalan radio station RAC 1 reports that Ferrer was close to attacking Oliver during a meeting which also involved the three other vice-presidents.

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo says that Martorell offered to resign, which in the end didn't happen. The security audits also wouldn't have been handed immediately to the four people concerned, but only after those explicitly demanded this when they found out about the investigations.

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that one of the vice-presidents considered to step down. El Mundo Deportivo says that this was Franquesa, who still would be considering to leave before the end of this board's term next year.

In the end the case was settled, in the benefit of the club. Madrid sports paper As claims that at least one of the vice-presidents is nonetheless still convinced that Laporta knew about the investigations beforehand.

Barcelona opposition news site Pelikano claims, based upon sources close to the board, that Laporta set up the whole operation, trying to torpedo a possible candidacy of Ferrer, who is not the favourite of the president to succeed him but who has the support of the majority of the board members. Ferrer would therefore have been the main target of the investigations.

In the margin
Spanish newspaper El País reported that Barcelona chief executive Oliver and Barcelona board member Xavier Sala i Martín own a consultancy company together. As was already known before, both men are also members of
Catalunya Oberta, a right-wing think-tank. Sala replied on Facebook that the company is in fact a charity organization, so that they cannot be seen as business partners.

this is the third of ten parts on the case. the next parts will cover the reactions of the president and the board members involved. you can read the whole series here.

Read the previous part of this series:
Barçagate (1) - El Periodico breaks the news
Barçagate (2) - Emergency press conference

Barcelona chief executive Joan Oliver -left- and Barcelona marketing vice-president Jaume Ferrer -right- talking on Thursday 24 September, the day Catalan newspaper El Periódico brought the story on the investigations

1 comment:

  1. note:

    the last "in the margin" information is relevant in the sense that sala i martin is also seen as a possible presidential candidate