Luis Rubiales detained by police in Spain amid corruption investigation

Former Spanish FA president detained at Madrid airportSpanish Super Cup switch to Saudi Arabia is being looked into

Spanish police have detained the disgraced former football federation president Luis Rubiales on his return to the country amid an ongoing corruption probe.

Spain’s Civil Guard said that Rubiales is being questioned by police at Madrid’s airport after he was detained on exiting the plane that brought him back home from the Dominican Republic. Police have 72 hours to hand Rubiales over to a judge or release him.

Rubiales was returning to Spain amid a judicial probe into the 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 Spain player Jenni Hermoso without her consent after the Women’s World Cup final. He is facing a trial for allegedly 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 courthe 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 €40m 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. 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.

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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