Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira called to testify in Barcelona corruption case

Date:

Share post:


The investigating judge in charge of examining the €7.3million Barcelona paid to Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira has called the former referees’ chief to testify, despite his defence team having raised concerns over his health.

Barcelona were charged with corruption in March 2023 over payments made to Enriquez Negreira, the former vice-president of Spanish football’s refereeing committee, in a case brought by the Spanish public prosecutor’s office. The case relates to payments made between 2001 and 2018.

In addition to Enriquez Negreira, Barcelona’s current president Joan Laporta, as well as his predecessors Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu, along with several other former club directors, are also being investigated. They have all denied wrongdoing.

The only testimony given by Enriquez Negreira himself so far was to Spain’s tax authorities, whose discovery of the payments led to public prosecutors taking up the wider case.

As reported in Spanish media, Enriquez Negreira told them Barcelona had paid him “to make sure no refereeing decisions were made against them, which is to say, for everything to be neutral”.

Enriquez Negreira, who is 78 years old, had submitted a medical report through his lawyers stating he would not be in a position to declare in front of a court because he is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. In October, he underwent an examination by a doctor from the Institute of Legal Medicine in Barcelona.

Judge Joaquin Aguirre Lopez, head of the investigating court number one of Barcelona, has now said he will be summoned to testify on February 21.


Laporta and others being investigated have denied wrongdoing (Joan Valls/Urbanandsport /NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Enriquez Negreira and Barca have denied the payments he received constitute any wrongdoing, with the club saying he was hired as an “external consultant” who provided reports “related to professional refereeing”.

Aguirre Lopez’s investigations are ongoing, but the latest major development in the case came in September, when the judge produced a document, seen by The Athletic, that reflected a change in strategy from the prosecutors’ side.

Aguirre Lopez said a “potential new offence of the crime of bribery” was now being considered — without dropping the original charges of possible corruption.

The initial corruption charges always required further evidence beyond the payments Barcelona made to Negreira — which are not in doubt. This is what Aguirre Lopez’s investigation has been searching for; concrete proof, or confessions from parties involved, that the money was paid directly in return for favourable treatment on the pitch.

Enriquez Negreira, Barca and the current and former club executives mentioned above have all denied that was the case.

In September, Aguirre Lopez said no evidence had been found of Enriquez Negreira paying referees to influence match results, and reports in the Spanish press suggested the judge had started to lose hope of finding evidence to support those charges in recent months, which led him to change focus.

Significantly, bribery is one of the crimes that, according to Spanish law, can’t be processed by a judge. If the case were to proceed in that direction, any final sentence would be made by a jury after a trial.

Jury members would be picked randomly among the population registered with Barcelona’s city council, as the case is being processed by a local court.

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

How Barcelona sees the Negreira scandal: Shame, disbelief and rallying cries

(Alex Caparros/Getty Images)





Source link

Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

Recent posts

Related articles

WNBA Draft 2024: Cameron Brink picked No. 2 after Caitlin Clark, Kamilla Cardoso goes third

Follow The Athletic‘s live coverage of the 2024 WNBA Draft.Caitlin Clark was selected first by the Indiana...

Everton midfielder Dele eyes 2026 World Cup: ‘I know my level as a player’

Everton midfielder Dele Alli says he is targeting a return from injury next season and wants to...

Boston Marathon offers mid-race drama, an upset and 16-strong suspense in the women’s race

BOSTON — Even at the two-hour mark, the leaderboard in the women’s division of Monday’s Boston Marathon...

Chelsea 6 Everton 0: Four more goals for Palmer and an argument over penalty duties – The Briefing

Chelsea took on Everton at Stamford Bridge on Monday evening buoyed by the sensational form of Cole...

‘We need him now’: Cam York’s emergence is central to Flyers’ hopes

VOORHEES, N.J. — In this era of advanced analytics, plus-minus is one of those stats that almost...

Scouting Scoot Henderson’s final push; thoughts on Jrue Holiday, Grayson Allen extensions

PORTLAND, Ore. — Another NBA regular season ended with the league’s bottom 10 teams mostly playing out...

Georgia football transfer portal primer: What does Andrew Paul’s departure mean, what’s next?

ATHENS, Ga. — The college football spring transfer portal window opens on Tuesday, and Georgia got its...

Final Ohio State spring game thoughts: The QB battle, RB upside, defensive talent and more

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State’s offense beat the defense 34-33 in Saturday’s spring game, but in the...