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Barcelona bash VP after embezzlement claim

Barcelona will take legal action against Emili Rousaud after the club’s former vice president claimed a high-ranking executive has been taking money out of the club.

Barca have also reported a restructuring of the board of directors after Rousaud, along with five other directors, announced his resignation last week as the institutional crisis at the club deepened.

After stepping down, Rousaud said that someone inside the club “had their hands in the till,” although he didn’t mention any names.

Barca responded angrily to the comments, threatening to sue Rousaud, and on Monday they revealed they would be bringing “the corresponding criminal action accordingly.”

“FC Barcelona cannot tolerate allegations that seriously damage the institution’s image,” a statement read. “The criminal action to be taken is in defence of the honour of the club and its employees.”

There have been problems bubbling under the surface for a while at Camp Nou, but things have grown more heated since the revelation in February that Barca paid a third-party company to smear players, potential presidents and club legends online.

President Josep Maria Bartomeu denied any knowledge of the Facebook accounts in question and rescinded the club’s contract with the company, I3 Ventures, who he said had been contracted to monitor social media.

Speaking after his resignation, Rousaud said in various interviews last week the value of the contract with I3 Ventures was inflated and had been broken down to evade internal controls. He then added that an executive — although not someone on the board of directors — had been making money on the deal.

Barca have ordered an external audit into the relationship with I3 Ventures from PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Monday’s announcement added that the audit has been held up due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, Bartomeu has named Jordi Moix, Pau Vilanova and Oriol Tomas as the club’s new vice presidents, along with Jordi Cardoner, who was already in the role, following last week’s resignations.

As well as Rousaud, who was set to run as Bartomeu’s heir in next summer’s elections, vice president Enrique Tombas also stepped down, along with four other members of the board. Four of the six had been asked to resign by Bartomeu.

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