Rousaud: Someone was ‘benefiting illicitly’ through BarçaGate

Emili Rousaud, FC Barcelona's ex institutional vice president / EFE
Emili Rousaud, FC Barcelona’s former institutional vice president / EFE

FC Barcelona’s now former vice president, Emili Rousaud, has spoken out, following the joint resignation of six board directors Thursday.

The chaos in Barcelona continues. The renowned BarçaGate scandal brought lack of cohesion to the board and its connection with the players, which, most recently, saw six directors jointly resign from the board.

Emili Rousaud, who was tipped to be club president Josep Bartomeu’s direct successor through a continuity candidacy, was one of the six directors, and was also the first one to speak out when Bartomeu asked him to step down from his position in the board.

Friday, SER Catalunya published a new interview with Emili Rousaud, in which he addressed several things, among those the joint resignation. The ex-vice president also shed light on the BarçaGate scandal, from a financial perspective.

“We are leaving [the club’s board] now, and not because the president asked us to resign. We have made a very right move in going out all at once, to avoid a trickle of resignations from the club’s side,” Rousaud told the Catalan news outlet SER Catalunya, on their talk-show Què T’hi Jugues, Friday.

“There is a lack of response when you ask why the invoices [from I3 Ventures] are divided. That it [the division of invoices] is done to avoid the club’s [internal] controls is an extremely serious problem. I do not know if there are more invoices, but it is a question that has been asked, and I do not know what the external auditor [PwC] will say,” Rousaud said, before delving into the financial aspect of the scandal.

“When you pay an excessive [amount] for a service, someone from the inside or the outside could benefit from it. If there is a difference between what you pay, and the market value [of what you are paying for], someone is illicitly benefiting, whether from the inside [of the club] or outside [of it],” he continued.

“You have done a great piece of journalistic work, and you have done the club a big favor with BarçaGate. You have provided transparency,” he told SER Catalunya, the first news outlet to reveal information about the I3 Ventures partnership being used with malicious intents; the release of this information brought many problems with the situation ultimately dubbed BarçaGate.

“The basic work on the audit looks like is done, there a just a couple of interviews left but is almost done,” Rousaud added.

“The decision taken by the president I think was related to the matter of social networks [leading to BarçaGate]. I can not turn the blind eye, out of respect for the [club’s] socis [official members],” he explained.

Rousaud then suggested that the six resignations might not be the only one that will land on Bartomeu’s table in the foreseeable future, as there are ‘two or three’ board members that have doubts on whether they will continue with the club.

”There are colleagues [other board members], two or three [of them], that have doubts. I will understand that them choosing to continue or leave is a personal decision. I will not point fingers at anyone nor say who they are,” he added.

“A continuity in the board of directors makes sense when it has good sporting results and good financial management. If you have those before the elections, the socis will value that. If you do not [have those], it will be difficult [to have a good campaign], but a continuity candidate at this point would not make any sense,” Rousaud explained.

In the letter, the six board directors urged the club’s official members to call for an early election, with Bartomeu’s current mandate ending in 2021.