The EIBTM, the annual fair for the events and meetings industry is to bring in €40 million to Barcelona (read article in Castilian here, El Periódico). The global meeting for the events industry starts on February 2nd and is expected to exceed 14,000 visitors boosting hotel residency and pumping money into the local economy. What makes this so important is not the numbers expected at the fair but the potential number of visitors it might attract in the future. The people attending in February are professionals who decide where to hold major business and industry events and an estimated €40 million could be generated in future revenue. Taking place at the Fira Gran Via, over 3,300 exhibitors will set up stands, including representatives from hotels, luxury car firms and event organisers. In addition to this it is thought that a further 100 separate meetings and events will take place across the city. Organisers say that many participants arrive early and stay for additional days, taking advantage of restaurants and cultural attractions. The event director Graeme Barnett stressed that the EIBTM is the "business barometer of 2011".
Three ex-presidents of the FGC are accused of defrauding €3.2 million in an illegal pension plan (read article in Castilian here, El País). Three ex-presidents of the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat during the time of Jordi Pujol have been accused of fraud by implementing an unlawful pension plan for the directors of the company, which was exempt from official control and was created behind the backs of the administration. The three accused, Albert Vilalta, Enric Roig and Antoni Herce, all defend their actions and state that they acted through loyalty to senior management. The alleged fraud exceeds €3.2 million. The prosecutor has requested sentences of four years and 10 months for Vilalta and six years for Enric Roig and Antoni Herce. The plan was signed off in April 1991, with the Winterthur insurance company and was canceled in 2000 when it was discovered that during that time millions of contributions were made with public money and was benefiting 15 senior members of the FGC. The three are currently blaming each other, with Vilalta saying Roig was the mastermind behind the scheme, Roig saying the instigator was Manuel Herce and Herce blaming the other two. The Tribunal de Cuentas have ordered Roig and Herce to return €2.7 million plus interest.
Barça humiliates Real Madrid with a 5-0 victory at Camp Nou (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Barça left people in no doubt that they are currently one of the best teams in the world with a convincing 5-0 win. Goals were scored by Xavi, Pedro, Jeffren and two by David Villa leaving José Mourinho's team floundering. Tensions were high after Cristiano Ronaldo pushed Guardiola on the side lines and every team member seemed to become involved whilst later on the Madrid team almost lost it completely after from an incident between Sergio Ramos and Messi which led Ramos to shove Puyol in the face, resulting in a red card for the Madrid player. Pep Guardiola's team is now two points ahead of Real Madrid after giving the team what is known as a 'manita' This is now the fourth 'manita' that Barça have succeeded over Real Madrid, the first was achieved during the 1934-35, then in 1944-45 followed by a win in 1993-94. Whilst in 1950-51 they managed to win 7-2.