Barcelona in corruption ‘bombshell’ as €1.4m payment to La Liga referee comes to light

According to reports in Spain, a company owned by a former La Liga referee was paid €1.4m by FC Barcelona between 2016 and 2018.

The Mirror’s Colin Millar has described this as a ‘bombshell report’. The official in question is José María Enríquez Negreira, who also used to be the vice president of Spain’s Technical Committee of Referees.

The original report comes via the Spanish outlet Cadena Ser. Their headline reads: ‘The Prosecutor’s Office investigates the company of a former vice president of referees who received payments from Barça for advice while in office’.

Negreira was vice president for around 24 years between 1994 and 2018. His company – DASNIL 95 SL – is being ‘investigated’ by Barcelona’s Prosecutor’s Office for ‘corruption between individuals’.

It is said that a ‘tax inspection’ uncovered that a total payment of €1.4m – which was not invoiced – was made to the company by Barcelona.

The report states: ‘The amounts of 532,728.02 euros in 2016, 541,752 euros in 2017 and 318,200 euros in 2018. In June 2018, Barcelona paid the last invoice, a date that coincides with the constitution of a new CTA and with the departure of Negreira from the Committee.

‘The former president Josep Maria Bartomeu (2014-2020) assures that the payments were put to an end due to a policy of cutting expenses and that the reports already existed at least in 2003, when he arrived at the club, and that they were paid continuously until 2018.

‘Sources from Sandro Rosell’s board of directors also support this version. [Joan] Gaspart (president between 2000 and 2003) assures that he is not aware of it and Joan Laporta (current president) has declined to comment on it.’

The report goes on to state that Negreira ‘did not provide any document proving that he provided a service to the FCB’. The ex-official has claimed that ‘there is no documentation because his job consisted of verbally advising the Barça club, among other issues, on how the players should behave in front of each referee’.

Negreira, his son (DASNIL 95 SL’s administrator) and Barcelona’s former officials have all ‘testified before the Prosecutor’s Office’. This investigation remains ongoing after an ‘extension was granted’ back in October 2022.

Negreira has reportedly told Cadena Ser that ‘he never favoured Barcelona in any decision or arbitration appointment and that his job consisted of verbally advising Barcelona’.

He is said to have insisted before the tax agency that ‘everything was neutral’, but his advice to the Spanish outfit include ‘what they could and should not do depending on the referee designated for the matches’.

The DASNIL 95 SL owner ‘worked exclusively for Barcelona’.

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