After Garry Cook’s ignominious exit as Manchester City CEO in the aftermath of insensitive email communication in relation to Nedum Onuoha’s mother, the incumbent CEO Ferran Soriano is also at the eye of a storm.
Soriano had served as the financial vice president of Barcelona from 2003 to 2008 and was an instrumental figure in tripling the Catalan club’s income. However, the present allegations against him date back to his successful days at the La Liga club.
Catalonia’s senior prosecutor has found in an investigation that had started three years ago that Soriano had entrusted a cyber-intelligence firm, Cybex Experience, to snoop on the FC Barcelona email network and monitor email communication containing any of a list of 100 keywords.
The time period of this snooping was 3 years (2005-08) and as reported in The Independent, what had started as an exercise intended at alerting the management of classified communication going out to the press turned into a full-fledged surveillance of the full network.
The findings also reveal that mails containing text of the keywords run into a 15-page report and that the agency has record of all mails in the fcbarcelona.cat email domain, although players’ emails are believed to be out of the scope of this covert operation.
Gossip mongers in the media are sensing that the sudden findings have come to destabilize Soriano’s footing as the CEO of Manchester City. It is believed that there was a gentleman’s agreement between Soriano and his old employers that as Manchester City CEO, he would not be after the Barca players to get them over at the Eastlands.
Soriano and his right hand man, the ex-Barcelona technical director Txiki Beguiristain, have tried to woo a handful of Barcelona stars to join the ‘project’ of Sheikh Mansour – Cesc Fabregas, Sergio Busquets and Pedro being the prime targets.
Both Soriano and Beguiristain are Joan Laporta loyalists, and therefore any allegation coming from Barcelona will be construed by the media as an act of vengeance by Laporta’s arch-enemy Sandro Rossell – the current Barcelona president.
Even though this seems ludicrous in the face of it, it gives ample fodder for journalists to train their guns at Soriano, Manchester City and Barcelona.