9 January 2004
BARCELONA – Two former presidents of Barcelona Football Club must face legal action over an alleged fraud involving the sale of land worth EUR 46 million, a judge ruled Friday.
A civil lawsuit was filed against Joan Gaspart and Enric Reyna over the allegedly fraudulent sale of the land owned by the club.
A judge in Barcelona ruled Friday that the case should go ahead, despite legal efforts by Gaspart and Reyna to have it thrown out of court.
The land at the centre of the case was in Sant Joan Despi, near Barcelona.
The lawsuit was filed by representatives of FC Barcelona after Gaspart sold the land for EUR46 million euros in an allegedly fraudulent operation.
According to the lawsuit, the land sale was carried out in two phases in an attempt to avoid intervention by the club’s representatives, who must authorise any operation that exceeds 20 percent of the organisation’s budget.
A part of the land was sold in an operation on 21 June 2002 for EUR30 million, while the remaining land was sold on 16 February 2003 for EUR16 million.
The lawsuit claims the sale of the land was designed to mask a deficit on the club’s books.
But in reality, the deal was about hiring the construction company FCC to build the Sport City Complex.
According to the Ministry of Economy, this type of operation cannot be included in the accounting procedure to reduce losses.
Gaspart’s legal representatives filed a petition of suspension of the civil lawsuit since there is a criminal lawsuit pending against Gaspart and Reyna.
The judge overruled the criminal lawsuit, arguing that current Barcelona FC president Joan Laporta authorised the entire operation.
Gaspart and Reyna have appealed against this decision.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news