City chief Soriano accused of 'fraudulent administration' at former club Barcelona
21:58 GMT, 6 April 2013
23:34 GMT, 6 April 2013
Trouble: City chief Ferran Soriano
Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano may have to answer claims he authorised his former club, Barcelona, to spy on employees’ emails, after Catalonia’s senior prosecutor upheld a complaint by the Catalan club.
Barcelona have accused Soriano and his then fellow director, Joan Oliver, of ‘fraudulent administration and the disclosure of secrets’ and this complaint has now been upheld, meaning the City executive could be called to give evidence at the end of next month.
The case brought by Barcelona centres on accusations that Soriano authorised a cyber intelligence company, Cybex Experience, to embed a device in the server of the club’s internal computer, enabling all internal emails containing certain keywords to be monitored.
Derby: Roberto Mancini's side face Manchester United on Monday
Barcelona also employed the services of the private investigation firm Metodo 3, who are alleged to have monitored other club directors and even first-team players.
The current Barcelona board’s motivation for the complaint appears to be to ensure the previous regime pays back about three million euros spent between 2004-09 on these services.
But their offensive action has also been seen as a tactic in an ongoing cold war between Manchester City and Barcelona because president Sandro Rosell believes a pledge not to target players from the Spanish side has been broken.
City face their rivals United in the Manchester derby on Monday with their hopes of retaining the Premier League all but gone.
Roberto Mancini's side are 15 points behind United with eight games remaining.