Luis Rubiales arrested in corruption probe after kissing scandal

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Spanish police arrested former soccer federation president Luis Rubiales upon his return to the country as part of an ongoing corruption investigation, the Spanish Civil Guard said Wednesday, ahead of to release it later.

Multiple reports indicate that Rubiales has been arrested.

The Civil Guard said Rubiales was questioned by police at Madrid airport after being arrested as he exited the plane bringing him back from the Dominican Republic. He was released a few hours later. An investigating judge is expected to summon him for further questioning in the coming days.

Rubiales was returning to Spain as part of a legal investigation into a business deal to stage the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia.

A Spanish National Police officer watches passengers leave the arrivals hall of Terminal 1 at Madrid Barajas airport, April 3, 2024. Luis Rubiales, who landed at Madrid airport on a plane from the Dominican Republic, was arrested on his return to Spain. AFP via Getty Images

Rubiales was in the Dominican Republic two weeks ago when police raided his property in Granada and the offices of the Spanish Football Federation in Madrid. Seven people were arrested by police and Rubiales was identified as one of five others under investigation.

The investigation into corruption and money laundering focuses on contracts for the Spanish Super Cup and the federation’s links with the La Cartuja stadium in Seville, which hosts, among others, the Copa del Rey final and some international matches.

Rubiales resigned as federation president in September after causing an international scandal for kissing Spanish player Jenni Hermoso without her consent during the Women’s World Cup final. He faces trial for allegedly sexually assaulting Hermoso. He has denied any wrongdoing in the matter.

Luis Rubiales kissed Spain’s Jenni Hermoso after winning the 2023 World Cup. Fox Sports

Rubiales cut his stay abroad short by three days. He initially told the court he would return on Saturday.

While 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 in a one-year deal. value of 40 million euros (then 42 dollars). million) per tournament for the federation.

Prosecutors opened an investigation into the deal in 2022 following leaked audio between Rubiales and then-Barcelona player Gerard Pique regarding millions of dollars in commissions. Kosmos, Piqué’s sports entertainment company, was involved in the deal with the federation and Saudi Arabia. A company official told The Associated Press that no Kosmos employees had been arrested or investigated and that no company property had been searched.

Former president of the Spanish Football Federation, Luis Rubiales, arrives at the National Court in Madrid, Spain, Friday, September 15, 2023. P.A.

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 said or what the Civil Guard investigated,” he said. “The money in my bank account is the result of my work and my savings. »

New York Post

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