Barcelona President Joan Laporta may escape the investigation into corruption and bribery linked to the Negreira case, if the Spanish prosecutor gets their way.
Last month the Court Magistrate Joaquin Aguirre, who is directing the investigation, included Laporta in the case alongside former Presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu. Initially Laporta had been left out due to a statute of limitations meaning he was not due to be charged. However Aguirre argued that the statute should begin from date of the last payment made to Negreira (2018), rather than the start of the investigation (2023).
There is a ten-year statute of limitations, and with Laporta leaving office in 2010, that start date will determine whether he should be included in the case. As per MD, the prosecutors have requested that Aguirre ends the investigation into Laporta for those charges as a result.
They have also discarded the idea that the presidents could all be considered responsible due to a pact between them, which would have implicated all of the Barcelona presidents between 2001 and 2018, while the payments were ongoing. Each president will answer only to payments made under them.
However they will continue pursuing the charge of bribery. The prosecution consider that Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira was a public official while he was the Vice-President of the Referees Committee, and thus can be charged with bribery simply for receiving payments for his position, alleging that Barcelona’s consultancy work with Negreira is false. Some have noted that Barcelona are likely to argue that the Committee is a private company.