Soccer-Barcelona file complaint to prosecutors against former president Bartomeu

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - FC Barcelona unveil new signing Pedri - Auditorium 1899, Barcelona, Spain - August 20, 2020 FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu during the unveiling REUTERS/Albert Gea

(Reuters) - Barcelona have filed a complaint with local prosecutors against former club president Josep Maria Bartomeu and his board following an investigation into "possible irregularities", the club said in a statement on Wednesday.

After being elected Barcelona president 11 months ago, Joan Laporta commissioned a financial audit and hired corporate investigators to look into the previous board.

"On February 1st the results will be presented publicly of the in-depth investigation brought about as a consequence of Financial Due Diligence and with the object of detecting possible irregularities in the management of the Club during the previous presidential mandate," the club said on Wednesday.

"The announcement will also include details about the complaint filed by the club to the Barcelona Provincial Prosecutor's Office based on facts that derive from the conclusions of the Forensic investigation."

Reuters was unable to contact Bartomeu for comment. He has previously denied wrongdoing or mismanagement.

Last August, Laporta said Barcelona had paid "disproportionate amounts" of money in commissions to intermediaries who worked on transfers made by the club during Bartomeu's time in charge.

Bartomeu was arrested in March as part of a police probe related to allegations of improper management and business corruption which also saw the club's Camp Nou offices raided.

The investigation stemmed from the 'Barcagate' affair in which the club was accused of contracting a marketing consultancy to orchestrate a social media campaign against current and former personnel who had been critical.

Following his arrest, Bartomeu defended his time at the club in an interview with Barcelona newspaper Sport.

"Our management was not disastrous and LaLiga, UEFA and the auditors say so," he said. "With 180 million (euros) in profits, and with Forbes valuing us as the most valuable club in the world. This serious and rigorous management was cut short by the appearance of the pandemic, which led to a drop in income of some 500 million."

(Reporting by Fernando Kallas; Editing by Toby Davis)

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