Barcelona charged with bribery in the Negreira Case
Judge Joaquín Aguirre argues that the payments to Negreira and his refereeing team constitute a crime.
On Thursday morning, news broke that FC Barcelona has been charged with the crime of bribery in what has been dubbed the Negreira Case. This has been ruled by Judge Joaquín Aguirre, head of the Investigative Court number 1 of Barcelona, as reported by El Debate, considering that the payments to Negreira and his team over the years constitute a crime.
FC Barcelona and the Negreira Case
Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, former presidents of Barça, and José María Enríquez Negreira and his son Javier Enríquez Romero have also been charged.
According to the news outlet, which reportedly obtained the content of the judicial ruling, Aguirre argues that the €7.5 million in payments made by the club to José María Enríquez Negreira, the former vice president of the Technical Committee of Referees (CTA), constitutes a crime. The bribery offense specifies that no public official can receive payments for the performance of their public duties. The judge considers Negreira a public official for criminal purposes, as he held a public position.
“Anyone who, by immediate provision of the law, by election, or by appointment of competent authority, participates in the exercise of public functions, shall be considered a public official,” it is stated.
The judge announced in early September that he was opening a separate investigation into the alleged money laundering by Enríquez Negreira and his son, as well as the corporate network through which money transfers were made. The judge believes that the investigation into the primary offense (the payments made by FC Barcelona, which are “perfectly documented”) will not be too lengthy. Simultaneously conducting this investigation alongside the more complex money laundering inquiry could potentially impede the progress of the case.
Negreira threatens Bartomeu
One of the most damning aspects of the report states that Judge Aguirre recalls that Negreira, after being dismissed as vice president of referees in mid-2018, sent a threatening letter to former President Bartomeu, indicating that “if they [Barça] did not continue to pay him, he would reveal a series of facts that could seriously harm the club.”
The judge asserts that “this indicates that Enríquez Negreira was aware of the existence of serious illicit acts in favor of Barça.”