Former FC Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu has reportedly been arrested for his alleged involvement in a smear campaign against Lionel Messi.
According to the Daily Mail, Bartomeu has been arrested by Spanish authorities amid ongoing investigations into the 'Barcagate' scandal which saw club officials accused of launching a smear campaign against Messi and other prominent figures last year.
The beleaguered former Barca chief is said to have orchestrated a social media campaign against his detractors, which including Messi and Gerard Pique, club legend Xavi Hernandez, and presidential rival Joan Laporta, among others.
Bartomeu is one of three individuals who are reported to have been taken into custody by the police on Monday, alongside Barca Chief Executive Officer Oscar Grau and the club's head of legal services, Roman Gomez Ponti.
The report claims further that Barcelona's Nou Camp stadium was also raided in a search and seize operation connected to an investigation into the scandal, which previously saw the entire board of directors resign amid controversy last year.
Monday's operation comes just a week before the club's presidential elections are set to take place and adds further pressure at a time where the Catalan giants are labouring under political turmoil and rapidly expanding debts.
Scroll through the gallery to see the staggering transfers fees Barcelona still owe various clubs