HomeSportsSpanish police detain ex-football chief Luis Rubiales amid corruption probe

Spanish police detain ex-football chief Luis Rubiales amid corruption probe


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Rubiales questioned about a business deal to move the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia, signed during his time as president.

Police have detained Luis Rubiales, former president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, on his return to Spain as part of an ongoing corruption probe, the Civil Guard says.

The national police force said Rubiales was questioned by police at Madrid’s airport after he was detained on Wednesday after exiting a plane that brought him back home from the Dominican Republic. He was then released.

Rubiales returned to Spain as a judicial probe is being conducted into a business deal to hold the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia.

Rubiales was in the Dominican Republic two weeks ago when police raided a property belonging to him in Granada and the offices of the Spanish Football Federation in Madrid as part of a corruption and money laundering investigation that included the Super Cup among other deals.

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

Rubiales stepped down as president of the federation in September after causing an international scandal for kissing player Jenni Hermoso without her consent after Spain won the Women’s World Cup in August. He is facing trial on a charge of sexually assaulting Hermoso. He has denied any wrongdoing in that case.

Rubiales cut short his stay abroad by three days. He had originally told the court that he was coming back on Saturday.

During his time as president of Spanish football, 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 $42m) per tournament for the federation.

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

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

A company official told The Associated Press news agency that no employee of Kosmos has been detained or placed under investigation and no property of the company has been raided.

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.

“I don’t know what the judge has said or what Civil Guard has investigated,” he said. “The money in my bank account is the result of my work and my savings.”

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