Luis Rubiales tells Spanish court he will cooperate with corruption probe

President of the Spanish Federation Luis Rubiales and Saudi General Sport Authority GSA chairman Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019.
President of the Spanish Federation Luis Rubiales and Saudi General Sport Authority GSA chairman Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. Copyright Amr Nabil/Copyright 2019 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews with AP
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The former Spanish football boss says he is planning to return from the Dominican Republic after being named as a person of interest.

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Former Spanish football boss Luis Rubiales says he will return to Spain to face a judicial probe into the business deal to hold the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia, court officials said on Thursday.

Rubiales was in the Dominican Republic this week when police raided a property belonging to him in Granada and the offices of the Spanish Football Federation in Madrid. 

The office for Spain’s state prosecutors said 11 premises were raided for documents on Wednesday. Officers made seven arrests, and Rubiales was identified as one of five additional individuals under investigation in a corruption and money laundering probe.

A court official told the Associated Press that Rubiales’ lawyer informed a Madrid-based court in the hours after the raids that he was willing to cooperate with authorities and had plans to fly home on 6 April, but that he would be willing to come sooner if requested by a judge.

No arrest warrant has been issued by the court for Rubiales or any other person of interest in the case.

During his time as president of Spanish soccer, Rubiales overhauled the format of the Spanish Super Cup, creating a four-team mini tournament in 2020 and moving the competition to Saudi Arabia as part of a deal that was reportedly worth €40 million per tournament for the federation.

Prosecutors opened a probe of that deal in 2022 following leaked audio of a conversation 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 AP that no employee of Kosmos has been detained or placed under investigation, and that no property of the company has been raided.

Rubiales stepped down in September after causing an international scandal for kissing Spain player Jenni Hermoso without her consent at the Women’s World Cup final, and is facing a trial for allegedly sexually assaulting Hermoso. He has denied any wrongdoing.

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