Home Australia Ex-Spanish soccer federation head Luis Rubiales detained amid corruption probe

Ex-Spanish soccer federation head Luis Rubiales detained amid corruption probe

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A man wearing a suit and shirt walking outside.

Luis Rubiales, the disgraced former president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), was detained and later released upon his return to the country amid an ongoing corruption investigation.

The Spanish Civil Guard said Wednesday that Rubiales was detained and questioned by police at Madrid airport after getting off a plane and was released a few hours later.

An investigating judge is expected to summon him for further questioning in the coming days.

His lawyer, Margrita Crespo, said Rubiales was asked to accompany officers to a police station, where they read him his rights, took his fingerprints and searched his belongings.

The lawyer added, however, that Rubiales was not notified of anything and was allowed to leave without restrictions.

Rubiales was returning to Spain on a flight from the Dominican Republic, where he had spent two months on what he described as a business trip.

He shortened his stay abroad by three days, after initially telling the court he would return on Saturday.

Luis Rubiales denies corruption accusations against him.(AP: Manu Fernández, Archive)

While abroad, police raided offices and properties linked to an investigation into alleged corruption, mismanagement and money laundering during his tenure as RFEF president.

A Madrid court has been investigating since June 2022 whether it committed a crime of improper management when the RFEF agreed with the Kosmos company of former Barcelona player Gerard Piqué to move the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia, an agreement valued at 120 million euros (about 200 dollars). million today).

Seven people were detained by police and Rubiales was identified as one of five additional individuals under investigation. He denied doing anything wrong.

Police searched the RFEF headquarters outside Madrid and Rubiales’ apartment in the southern Spanish city of Granada on March 20, as well as a soccer stadium in Seville.

In a brief preview of a recorded interview with the Spanish television channel La Sexta, Rubiales denied a series of what he called false claims made by Spanish media, including that he accepted bribes, and said his earnings were the product of his work and savings.

Rubiales also confirmed that Spanish police searched his temporary accommodation in the Dominican Republic on Monday and confiscated a mobile phone.

Saudi Arabia decision in question

During his tenure as president of Spanish football, Rubiales revised the format of the Spanish Super Cup in 2020, creating a four-team mini-tournament and moving the competition to Saudi Arabia.

Prosecutors opened an investigation into that deal in 2022 after the publication of leaked audio of Rubiales and then-Barcelona player Gerard Piqué discussing millions of dollars in commissions.

Piqué’s sports entertainment company, Kosmos, was involved in the deal with the federation and Saudi Arabia.

A company official told the Associated Press that no Kosmos employees have been detained or placed under investigation and that no company property has been raided.

The corruption and money laundering investigation is looking into contracts for the Spanish Super Cup and the federation’s ties to Seville’s La Cartuja stadium, which hosts the Copa del Rey final and some international matches, among other deals.

A smiling man dressed in a suit hugs a woman dressed in a soccer uniform

The Spanish Jenni Hermoso and the president of the RFEF, Luis Rubiales, after the match at Stadium Australia.(Reuters: Hannah Mckay)

Rubiales resigned as president of the federation in September after causing an international scandal for kissing Spanish player Jenni Hermoso without her consent in the Women’s World Cup final.

He faces trial for alleged sexual assault of Hermoso. He has denied any wrongdoing in that case, arguing that the kiss was consensual.


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