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Former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell released from jail

Current club president Josep Maria Bartomeu claims Rosell is innocent

Former FC Barcelona President Sandro Rosell In Court Over Neymar Signing Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Former FC Barcelona club president Sandro Rosell has been released from prison after nearly two years. His trial for alleged money laundering offenses is still pending. Rosell has been forced to give up his passport and is under strict orders not to leave Spain. He was released under the argument that he does not pose a flight risk.

He has been accused of laundering almost 20 million euros through tax havens between 2007 and 2011. Rosell maintains his innocence, and he will get his day in court by the end of March.

Prosecutors say he misappropriated funds from the sale of TV rights and friendly matches featuring Brazil, as well as from a contract between Nike and the Brazilian FA. Rosell is a former Nike executive in Brazil who was in charge of Barça from 2010 until 2014, when he was forced to resign amid controversy surrounding legal cases.

Current club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who was Rosell’s vice-president and took over after his resignation, celebrated the decision to release both Rosell and his former partner Joan Besoli, calling it the end of an unjust situation. “Free and surrounded by their friends and family,” Bartomeu wrote on Twitter, “they will better be able to defend their innocence.”

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