Messi and Gerard Pique were reportedly among those targeted in a series of social media messages, along with former Barca superstars Carles Puyol and Xavi Hernandez. The apparent whistleblowers suggested that I3 Ventures had Twitter and Facebook accounts that wrote numerous posts to alter the public opinion of the players.
L'empresa contractada pel Barça (I3 Ventus) gestiona desenes de comptes a Twitter i Facebook des d'on s'ha atacat:— Què T'hi Jugues (@QueThiJugues) February 17, 2020
Messi, Piqué, Guardiola, Xavi, Puyol, Laporta, Font, Benedito, Roures, Torra, Puigdemont, Junqueras, ANC, Òmnium, TsunamiD
These included attacks on Messi's reluctance to sign a new contract at the Nou Camp while Pique was targetted following his project to revamp the Davis Cup. It is claimed that over 100 accounts were created in total and Barca paid the company around £830,000.
But the Catalan giants have issued an official statement denying any knowledge or involvement:
"I3 Ventures, a service provider to the club, has no relationship with the accounts mentioned.