Former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu was detained by Catalan police on Monday morning as part of an investigation into alleged criminal activity relating to an episode last year known as 'Barcagate'.
In a statement tweeted on Monday, Los Mossos d'Esquadra confirmed "several searches are being carried out" at Barca's club premises by its unit dedicated to the investigation of financial corruption.
So, what is Barcagate?
Bartomeu’s administration has been accused of contracting PR company I3 Ventures to conduct a smear campaign against a number of prominent figures who had publicly criticized the then-president's regime.
Spanish radio program Que t'hi jugues reported in February 2020 that the PR firm was paid to clean up Bartomeu’s image, as he came under fire from a disgruntled fan base, while disparaging the reputation of a number of current and former players – including Lionel Messi, Pep Guardiola, Xavi, and Gerard Pique.
Bartomeu's regime was also alleged to have misappropriated club funds by paying above market value for I3 Ventures services.
Barcelona and I3 Ventures vehemently denied the allegations and an audit conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found that no defamatory campaigns had been launched against any individual and that the services were contracted "within market range."
Links between the LaLiga giants and the PR firm were severed, but police forces have continued to look into the matter.
They first raided offices at the Camp Nou in June 2020 and have now returned to step up their investigation.
All of those at the centre of the allegations are innocent until proven otherwise.
Bartomeu, who has been in charge of the Spanish giants since July 2015, has found his position under severe pressure this season.