The Court of Instruction number one of Barcelona has ordered an investigation, at the request of the Guardia Civil, of the alibi publicly wielded by the president of FC Barcelona, Joan Laporta, to justify why he exponentially skyrocketed payments to José María Enríquez Negreira during his first period at the helm of the club.

The Armed Institute has presented a new report to the judge investigating the so-called 'Negreira case' in which it claims the need to verify the argument given by Laporta in his press conference last April to defend that Barça skyrocketed payments to the former number two of the referees for alleged 'scouting' work. In other words, obtaining information from other teams and from the referees who were going to officiate the club's matches.

The Judicial Police recalls that Negreira's turnover with Barça, which amounted to about 8 million euros in two decades, "increased from 2010 onwards". A situation that, he adds, "was nuanced by the current president of the sports entity, Joan Laporta, in the public appearance in which he said that there was more scouting work" since "that year the Confederations Cup was held". The Guardia Civil adds that the increase in Negreira's turnover approved by Laporta has already been certified by the Tax Agency, which unsuccessfully requested the contracts that supported this relationship.

The investigators stress that Barça has repeatedly replied that no contract was ever formalized with Negreira or with the corporate network that he has managed with his son and that, therefore, it is necessary to obtain "additional information" about these operations.

In this way, he has asked Judge Joaquín Aguirre to officiate FC Barcelona to make available to court the documentation in its possession in relation to any company or labor personnel that has carried out scouting services for the club during the last years. Included in the period in which Negreira no longer contracted with Barça, that is, from 2018 when he ceased to be vice-president of the Technical Committee of Referees (CTA). All this with the aim of analysing whether the services to which Laporta alluded are really true or simply a false excuse to camouflage the payments to the historic refereeing leader.

But the Guardia Civil has also requested, and the judge has just agreed, that the Barça club identify all the invoices paid to the Negreira family between 2003 and 2018 as well as which senior officials of the club authorized these payments. Laporta was indicted by the judge, but the Prosecutor's Office has appealed that decision, arguing that the payments for his first stint at the helm of the club are time-barred.

The judicial investigation is currently ongoing against the last presidents of the club for the crimes of sports corruption, disloyal administration, falsification of documents, money laundering or bribery.

  • Negreira Case