Former Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales arrested in corruption probe

Disgraced soccer chief, who also faces trial over World Cup kiss, detained at Madrid airport

Former Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales was arrested as he returned to Spain from the Dominican Republic. EPA
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Luis Rubiales, the disgraced former president of the Spanish football federation, was on Wednesday arrested as part of a corruption investigation.

Rubiales, who is due to go on trial for sexual assault after kissing Spain player Jenni Hermoso after last year's Women's World Cup final, was detained at Madrid airport on his arrival from the Dominican Republic.

Rubiales is suspected of having received illegal commissions as part of the deal to stage the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia.

He has been under investigation by a Spanish court since June 2022 to determine whether he committed a crime of improper management when the federation agreed with former Barcelona player Gerard Pique's Kosmos company to move the Super Cup to the kingdom.

As part of a judicial review into corruption and money laundering, police searched a property in Granada belonging to Rubiales two weeks ago, while he was in the Dominican Republic.

Prosecutors also raided the offices of the Spanish football federation, the RFEF, in Madrid as part of the investigation. They also carried out searches on 11 other locations throughout Spain.

RFEF staff were barred from entering their headquarters during the search.

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

Rubiales stepped down in September following the scandal that erupted after he kissed Hermoso without her consent after the World Cup final in which Spain beat England 1-0.

In the furore that followed the incident, Rubiales at first refused to resign, leading to many Spanish players including Hermoso threatening to boycott the team.

He was later banned from all football-related activities for three years by world governing body Fifa.

He is facing a trial for allegedly sexually assaulting Hermoso. Prosecutors are seeking a two-and-a-half-year jail term for Rubiales, who denies any wrongdoing.

Prosecutor Marta Durantez charged him with one count of sexual assault and one of coercion for his alleged actions in the aftermath of the kiss, offences carrying jail terms of one year and 18 months, respectively.

Both Hermoso and Rubiales, along with other colleagues, have given testimony to the investigating judge, who has recommended that the case proceed to trial.

Updated: April 03, 2024, 12:12 PM