Leaders of the Catalan independence movement and critics of Josep Maria Bartomeu's Barcelona administration were among the prime targets of the infamous 'Barcagate', which saw social media used to publicly attack several figures connected to the club.
Barca stood accused at the start of 2021 of hiring a company which defamed the likes of Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique as well as club legend Pep Guardiola, a scandal which contributed to Bartomeu's decision to stand down earlier this year.
Now, new data accessed by Goal shows that the football personalities were far from the only ones to be singled out in this manner.
The Independence Movement
In public, Barcelona expressed solidarity with the leaders of the Catalan independence movement, some of whom were jailed or exiled following the controversial 2017 referendum and subsequent declaration of independence.
A report from Catalan police following their raid on the home of Jaume Masferrer, Bartomeu's right-hand man, tells a different story, though.
Among the items seized in the search was Masferrer's personal notebook, which contained several allusions to the movement and has been seen by Goal.
"Tusquets knows the plan for independence," one of the scrawled annotations states, in reference to former club treasurer Carlos Tusquets, who served as interim president following Bartomeu's resignation and later handed over power to Joan Laporta.
Just below that assertion, Masferrer reveals the director's opposition to allowing pro-independence figures to gain control inside the club: "Tusquets says that you have to act to stop them winning the Barca presidency."
Quim Torra, Oriol Junqueras and Carles Puigdemont, pro-independence figures who held senior positions in the Catalan parliament at the time of the 2017 crisis - Torra and Puigdemont are ex-presidents while Junqueras served as vice-president - were all targeted by disparaging social media messages controlled by I3 Ventures, the company Barca are alleged to have hired for such a purpose.
'Make some noise on social media'
Police investigations also unearthed WhatsApp messages found in the files of I3 Ventures' parent company NiceStream, which Goal has also seen.
The missives appear to show how famed agent Josep Maria Minguella, a long-time collaborator with Barca, was earmarked for a campaign of online intimidation after going public with his criticisms of the Bartomeu administration.
One such message gives instructions on how to pursue Minguella through the company's controlled accounts, with the goal of "making some noise for him on social media in which the objectivity of his comments will come under question, since they only respond to commercial interests.
"Maybe this nudge will make him realise he is on the wrong path and make him reconsider... it is one of those situations which comes up because we don't act when we should.
"I think that if we start to give a few 'nudges', they might think first before going out to do damage."