Barcelona president Joan Laporta insisted the club never "bought referees nor had the intention to" following revelations from the Negreira case.

Last month, broadcaster SER Catalunya alleged Barca had paid €1.6million to the company of Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira – the former vice-president of Spain's Technical Committee of Referees (CTA) – between 2016 and 2018.

Newspaper El Pais claimed Negreira's company – DASNIL 95 SL – produced written reports and DVD assessments of referees prior to games.

Barca strenuously denied any wrongdoing at the time, adamant that such "technical reports related to professional refereeing" were "common practice among professional football clubs" as they acknowledged working with "an external consultant". Negreira denied favouring Barcelona.

El Mundo then alleged Barca stopped making payments to Negreira after he was no longer the CTA vice-president.

A joint investigation by the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and the CTA found no evidence of corruption nor influence over referees, while a probe into Negreira's affairs by the prosecutor's office is ongoing.

Laporta was not eager to talk about the subject on Tuesday when asked during what was billed as a "lunch discussion", but he felt the need to reiterate Barca's denial of wrongdoing.

"We have prepared a press conference to talk about this topic, but today I have this lunch," he said.

"Let me be clear, Barca have never bought referees nor had the intention to buy referees. Absolutely never.

"The forcefulness of the facts contradicts those who try to change the story. We are doing well again, nothing is accidental."

Laporta even seemed to suggest the scandal was part of a wider conspiracy to tarnish Barca's reputation after their refusal to sign up to LaLiga's deal with private equity fund CVC Capital Partners, who pledged €2billion in exchange for an 8.2 per cent stake in a new company that will receive revenue from the league's broadcasting and sponsorship rights.

"There is a campaign to harm the interests of Barca," he added.

"It is a campaign aimed at controlling the club. LaLiga does not accept that Barca did not sign the contract with CVC."