the National Police suggested interrogating Joan Gaspart and Joan Laporta

the National Police suggested interrogating Joan Gaspart and Joan Laporta

BarcelonaFirst it was the Tax Agency and then the National Police, but neither the Treasury inspectors nor the armed forces have been able to answer the two main unknowns that still hang over the Negreira case: why did Barça pay 7.5 millions of euros to former referee José María Enríquez Negreira between 2001 and 2018 and where this money went, considering that his wealth was hardly increased and that cash withdrawals were almost daily. To try to answer these two questions, the National Police recommended to the Prosecutor’s Office to interrogate Joan Gaspart, who was the president of Barça when the payments began; Joan Laporta, for his maintenance during his first stage as president, and Sandro Rosell, already denounced by the public ministry. In the case of the first two, the police advise taking their statements as witnesses, taking into account that their criminal liability in the events “would be time-barred”, due to the time that has passed.

To follow the trail of the money, the police force proposes to investigate the Negreira family’s heritage and its surroundings, according to the summary of the case, to which the ARA has had access. In fact, this is one of the pieces of evidence that the Prosecutor’s Office has asked the judge in the case to order, after presenting its complaint. The thesis of the public ministry is that Barça paid Negreira to “favor” the institution in the appointment of referees and in his way of blowing the whistle. Something that both Negreira himself and ex-president Josep Maria Bartomeu deny, the only two who have given a statement as investigated. The former told the Tax Agency that the invoices he sent to Barça were to collect the advice he gave them about the referees who would whistle the next match of the first or second team, so that they could prepare it technically or, when the match it had already been played, so they could decide which arbitration decisions they could appeal. Bartomeu assured the police that he did not know that the club was paying the former vice-president of the Technical Committee of Referees, but found it “absurd” to think that it was to benefit them.

Bartomeu admitted the club paid Negreira’s son Javier for arbitration advice. “It was reasonable to make sporting decisions,” he justified. In 2018, he decided to dispense with his services, for “financial reasons”. The former president wanted to record that, in any case, the order came from the time of Gaspart and Laporta. On the other hand, he denied having met with Negreira father. “I’ve seen him once in the Federation and in some football match,” he simply said. Negreira’s secretary, however, places him at least once in the office of the former referee. “They were talking about football,” he said when he testified before the police. Taking into account this statement and the multiple payments that the club made to the former referee while Bartomeu was its president, the agents conclude that the version of the ex-Blaugrana representative “is not credible”.

Daily withdrawals of money

The testimony of Negreira’s secretary is one of the most useful to the investigators in reconstructing the money movements of the ex-arbitration leader from the company Dasnil 95, which was nourished almost exclusively by Barça. Despite everything, she explained that the mercantile was also dedicated to acquiring gifts by catalog for other companies. But, above all, what Concepción Díaz testifies to is the continuous inflows and outflows of cash that Negreira made from his office: he instructed one of his trusted men, José Martínez, to go and collect checks at the office bank they had 300 meters from the office. He never asked her why, she told police. When he returned, he gave the cash to Negreira or left it on the secretary’s desk. Díaz explains that the amounts never stayed in the office. “I never left them in the office.” Before going home, Negreira took them with him. Between 2016 and 2019 alone (the relationship with Barça ends in 2018), Negreira withdrew more than 550,000 euros from Dasnil’s bank accounts.

The Tax Agency does not find any explanation for these movements and in its report (which serves as the basis for the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the case and end up taking it to court) stresses that, despite the high income obtained by the former arbitration official, his wealth did not increase significantly. In fact, despite the 7.5 million collected (every month he received between 30,000 and 40,000 euros from Barça), Negreira, who has not returned to testify to the police or to the Prosecutor’s Office because he suffers from Alzheimer’s, today “has no assets ” and lives in a flat that is an inheritance “from his partner”, maintains the Tax Agency.


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