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José María Enriquez Negreira, the former vice-president of the organization tasked with overseeing soccer referees in Spain, chose to remain silent when he appeared in court on Tuesday in connection with the alleged corruption scandal involving FC Barcelona.

Judicial sources told AFP that the former number two in the world of Spanish soccer officiating, José María Enríquez Negreira, exercised his right not to testify during a brief appearance on Tuesday before the Barcelona Criminal Court, after being summoned by the investigating judge, Joaquin Aguirre.

The 78-year-old was first summoned to appear in February but had his appearance postponed twice at the request of his defense, which claimed that he was unable to testify due to dementia.

Barça denies all allegations

In this case, the Catalan club, its current president Joan Laporta, and his two predecessors, Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu, have been charged for alleged payments to Negreira’s companies between 2001 and 2018, the year in which the latter left his post as VP. 

The Spanish justice system is investigating whether these payments (estimated at over 7 million euros) could have been used to influence the competition in any way—which FC Barcelona denies, claiming that they correspond to reports on the arbitration.

This post is originally from L’Équipe