HomeFootballEx-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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Luis Rubiales, the disgraced former Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) president, was detained and then released upon his return to the country amid an ongoing corruption probe.

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

An investigative judge is expected to summon him for more 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 attorney added, however, that Rubiales was not notified of anything and allowed to leave without any 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 cut short his stay abroad by three days, having originally told a court he was coming back on Saturday.

Luis Rubiales denies corruption allegations against him.(AP: Manu Fernandez, File)

While he was abroad, police raided offices and properties linked to a probe into alleged corruption, improper management and money laundering during his tenure as president of the RFEF.

A Madrid court has been investigating since June 2022 whether he committed the crime of improper management when the RFEF agreed with former Barcelona player Gerard Pique’s Kosmos firm to relocate the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia, a deal worth a reported 120 million euros (about $200 million today).

Seven people were detained by police, and Rubiales was identified as one of five additional individuals under investigation. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Police searched the RFEF’s 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 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 a product of his work and savings.

Rubiales also confirmed Spanish police had searched his temporary lodgings in the Dominican Republic on Monday, seizing a mobile phone.

Saudi Arabia decision in question

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

Prosecutors opened a probe of that deal in 2022 following 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 employee of Kosmos has been detained or placed under investigation and no property of the company has been raided.

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

A smiling man wearing a suit embraces a woman wearing a football uniform

Spain’s Jenni Hermoso and RFEF president Luis Rubiales after the match at Stadium Australia.(Reuters: Hannah Mckay)

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

He is facing a trial for allegedly sexually assaulting Hermoso. He has denied any wrongdoing in that case, arguing the kiss was consensual.


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