Luis Rubiales, Former Spanish Soccer Chief, Faces Arrest

Luis Rubiales, Former Spanish Soccer Chief, Faces Arrest

Luis Rubiales, the disgraced former Spanish soccer head who was pressured out after kissing a feminine participant towards her will, faces new authorized troubles after the Spanish police got permission to arrest him as a part of a wide-ranging investigation into accusations of corruption and cash laundering.

Investigators from the Spanish civil guard carried out a sequence of raids Tuesday, together with searches on the headquarters of the Spanish soccer federation on the outskirts of Madrid and at a house owned by Mr. Rubiales within the southern metropolis of Granada.

The public prosecutor’s workplace in Madrid stated 11 houses and quite a few different buildings have been searched as a part of an investigation into what it described as “alleged legal acts related to corruption in enterprise, unfair administration and cash laundering.”

Seven folks have been arrested on Tuesday, however Mr. Rubiales was not amongst them. He was within the Dominican Republic however is predicted to return to Spain on April 6, in response to a letter despatched to the presiding judge by his lawyer. Spain’s civil guard has been licensed to arrest him upon arrival in Spain if needed.

Mr. Rubiales’s lawyer didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Wednesday.

Investigators are wanting into contracts associated to the federation’s sale of profitable rights to a distinguished soccer event, the Spanish Super Cup, to Saudi Arabia in a deal brokered by considered one of Spain’s most celebrated gamers, Gerard Piqué.

Mr. Rubiales can be underneath investigation on allegations of hiring detectives to spy on the top of Spain’s gamers’ union; misusing federation funds to pay for private bills; and internet hosting a intercourse party, paid for with federation funds, in Granada in 2020 — all claims that emerged after official complaints have been made to prosecutors.

Mr. Rubiales, as soon as one of the vital highly effective males in world soccer, noticed his profession collapse within the wake of his actions after Spain’s triumph on the Women’s World Cup remaining in Australia final 12 months. In entrance of tens of 1000’s of followers in Sydney’s Stadium Australia and hundreds of thousands extra watching on tv, Rubiales planted an undesirable kiss on the mouth of the Spain midfielder Jennifer Hermoso on the medals stand.

The episode resulted in an outcry in Spain and past, and a legal grievance filed by Ms. Hermoso weeks after the event. That grievance allowed the Spanish authorities to open a case towards Mr. Rubiales, and in January she testified at a listening to to find out if he could be charged with sexual assault and coercion.

In January, a judge discovered sufficient proof of wrongdoing to suggest that Mr. Rubiales face trial over the kiss and the following coercion of Ms. Hermoso. If discovered responsible of sexual assault, he might be punished with one to 4 years in jail.

Mr. Rubiales, who had initially — and defiantly — refused to give up his place as the top of Spain’s federation amid the furor over the kiss, ultimately resigned after he was provisionally suspended by soccer’s world governing physique, FIFA. He was later barred from the game for 3 years.

Even earlier than information that Mr. Rubiales could also be arrested upon his return to Spain, it shortly grew to become obvious that he could be a central focus for investigators. In photographs broadcast on Spanish tv, officers might be seen carrying a field labeled with Mr. Rubiales’s title among the many gadgets seized from the property in Granada.

The police operation was the most recent flip within the beautiful fall from grace for Mr. Rubiales, whose affect in soccer as soon as prolonged past Spain’s borders. At the time of his resignation, simply weeks earlier than his FIFA ban, he was a vp of UEFA, European soccer’s governing physique, and one of many leaders of Spain’s bid to host the 2030 World Cup with Portugal and Morocco.

But even earlier than his ouster, he had confronted questions on his conduct. Bald and brash, Mr. Rubiales first attracted worldwide consideration solely months into his tenure as federation president when he fired the lads’s nationwide staff coach solely days earlier than its first recreation on the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

He later engaged in a yearslong public feud with Javier Tebas, the equally outspoken president of Spain’s prime soccer league, and drew criticism for backing the Spanish ladies’s coach, Jorge Vilda, within the midst of a revolt by the squad’s gamers.

In 2022, a leak of textual content and voice messages involving Mr. Rubiales and Mr. Piqué drew the eye of the Spanish police due to their point out of commissions paid to Mr. Piqué, nonetheless an lively participant on the time.

It was then that particulars emerged of the multiyear deal between Spain’s federation and Saudi Arabia by which the Gulf nation would pay 40 million euros yearly (about $43 million) to host an expanded model of the Super Cup. The most beautiful revelation was the involvement of Mr. Piqué, by his holding firm Kosmos, in brokering the deal, and the fee — 10 p.c, or simply over $4 million a 12 months — that he was set to obtain for his position.

Mr. Piqué, who was a defender for the Spanish membership F.C. Barcelona, and who would go on to seem within the relocated occasion earlier than his retirement in late 2022, denied wrongdoing on the time. It is unclear if he will likely be questioned as half of the present police investigation.

A unique Spanish soccer official, Miguel Ángel Galán, who leads the nation’s nationwide coaching middle for coaches, was the principal complainant within the Super Cup investigation. In an interview with a Spanish tv broadcaster on Wednesday, Mr. Galán, who denounced the Super Cup contracts and the fee paid to Mr. Piqué in statements to prosecutors, demanded the cash be returned.

The fee, Mr. Galán famous, was greater than what a minimum of considered one of collaborating golf equipment earned.



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