Barcelona president Sandro Rosell has again brushed off reports his business dealings are being investigated in Brazil by claiming that he is "a straight, honest and transparent" person.
A number of reports in recent months have suggested that Rosell’s commercial links to the Brazilian Football Confederation [CBF] were being looked into by the authorities, amid allegations of money being secretly paid to companies controlled by the Barca president.
The former Nike executive told journalists at Tuesday’s presentation of the Catalan club’s new three-year €96 million shirt sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways, that he had nothing to worry about.
"I do not know if I have to give explanations about what I did before in my private life, before becoming Barcelona president, but I will think about it," Rosell said. "I do not want anyone to doubt me, and I want them to see and to know that the president is straight, honest and transparent."
Rosell headed Nike’s operations in South America before becoming blaugrana vice-president in 2003, then being elected to the top job in 2010. Brazilian paper Estadao reported in mid-August that he was still involved in sports promotion -- and that a US company called Uptrend Development, which it said was controlled by the Barca chief, had received €8 million for promoting 24 Brazil friendlies played between 2006 and 2012.
Rosell’s pre-Barcelona commercial activities have long been a subject of interest in both Brazil and Spain, as have his reported close links with controversial former CBF president Ricardo Teixeira.
In March it was reported that Rosell could face up to eight years in jail after Brazilian prosecutors accused his sports company of illegally profiting from a Brazil versus Portugal friendly it organised in 2008.
Rosell’s lawyer, Antenor Madruga, then said that these charges were "ridiculous" and "rest on nothing", and it was suggested that Rosell was being used in a public battle between political rivals in Brazil.
In March 2012, Teixeira resigned from the CBF, and from the 2014 World Cup organising committee, citing health reasons. El Pais says that the 66-year-old is now living in Andorra, while his two-decade-long spell in charge of Brazilian football is being investigated by authorities in his home country.