The former FC Barcelona president, Sandro Rosell, was found not guilty in a money laundering case – for which he had spent 21 months in pre-trial jail from May 2017 to February 2019. Rosell and five other individuals were accused of laundering the money received over the audiovisual rights of 24 Brazil national football team matches.

However, Spain’s National Court in Madrid, said the allegations could not be proven, and therefore the principle ‘in dubio pro reo’ prevailed (when in doubt, in favor of the accused).

Rosell was ordered to enter prison in May 2017, and since then he appealed for conditional bail on 10 occasions, all of which were turned down by the court, which considered him a flight risk. Yet the judges in Spain’s National Court, where the trial against him started in late February, only decided when the proceedings started to lift the measure after nearly two years (643 days).

Fraud offenses

Rosell, who headed the Barça football club between 2010 and 2014, was charged with five others, including his wife, of fraud offenses, and faces 11 years in prison and a fine of 59 million euros.

He was jailed without bail in May 2017 over accusations of money laundering and belonging to a criminal organization in relation to television rights for football matches.

Specifically, Rosell is accused of misappropriating money from the sale of TV rights for friendly matches involving Brazil’s national team. Rosell denied all the charges.

According to the prosecution, he helped launder some 20 million euros that came from commissions for more than 20 matches played by the Brazil national team in a deal with Ricardo Teixeira, the former head of the Brazilian Football Confederation.