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Police raid Spanish soccer federation, Rubiales’ residence in probe of Saudi Arabia super cup deal

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Spanish police arrested at least six people and raided the offices of the Spanish soccer federation and a property belonging to former president Luis Rubiales on Wednesday as part of a corruption and money laundering investigation that includes suspicions regarding the federation’s deal to take the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia.

Spain’s Guardia Civil said that Rubiales was not among the six arrested. But a person with knowledge of the operation told The Associated Press that Rubiales was outside the country when his residence in the southern city of Granada was raided and that he is among the five additional people officially put under investigation. The person was not authorized to speak publicly about the operation.

The Guardia Civil said that said Rubiales was not at home when officers entered his residence.

The office for Spain’s state prosecutors said that a total of 11 premises were raided for documents and that it expected the operation to conclude with seven arrests and the identification of five more people as being under investigation.

Rubiales stepped down in September after causing an international scandal for kissing player Jenni Hermoso on Spain’s woman’s team without her consent during the awards ceremony for the Women’s World Cup in August. He is now facing an upcoming trial for allegedly sexually assaulting Hermoso. He denied any wrongdoing in the Hermoso case.

During his time in charge 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 as part of a deal that was reportedly worth 40 million euros (then $42 million) per tournament for the federation.

Prosecutors opened a probe of that deal in 2022 following leaked audio between Rubiales and then Barcelona player Gerard Piqué regarding millions of dollars in commissions.

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

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