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Rubiales to testify on April 29th over Spain football graft scandal

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Rubiales to testify on April 29th over Spain football graft scandal
Former president of the Spanish football federation Luis Rubiales leaves the Audiencia Nacional court in Madrid. Photo: Thomas COEX/AFP.

A Spanish judge on Tuesday summoned disgraced ex-football chief Luis Rubiales to testify on April 29th over an alleged graft scandal at the national federation (RFEF) when he was president, court documents showed.

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The 46-year-old returned to Spain from the Dominican Republic on April 3 and was briefly detained at the airport as part of a probe into federation contracts signed since 2018, including one signed by Rubiales to take the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia.

"On Monday 29 April at 10:00 am (0800 GMT), the court has summoned Luis Rubiales to testify as a person under investigation," the Madrid court said in a statement.

Rubiales' return to Spain came two weeks after investigators searched 11 locations, including the RFEF's Madrid headquarters and his house in the southern city of Granada, as part of a probe into alleged corruption and other crimes.

The March 20 raids were part of "an investigation linked to presumed crimes linked with corruption in business, fraudulent administration and money laundering", judicial sources said.

The Super Cup contracts are worth €40 million a year ($43.3 million) with the deal brokered by Kosmos, a company owned by former Barcelona and Spain defender Gerard Pique.

During the raids, police arrested the RFEF's legal director Pedro Gonzalez Segura and its head of human resources Jose Javier Jimenez as well as the federation's external legal adviser Tomas Gonzalez Cueto.

A day later, the RFEF sacked both men and ended its contract with GC Legal, Gonzalez Cueto's firm.

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'Never taken a bribe'

Rubiales was forced to step down as RFEF boss last September after forcibly kissing Women's World Cup star Jenni Hermoso following Spain's triumph in the Sydney final in August.

READ ALSO: Death of the Iberian macho: What the Rubiales kiss uproar says about Spain

He is to go on trial over the non-consensual kiss which under Spanish law can be classed as sexual assault.

In 2022, prosecutors opened an investigation into the Super Cup deal after audio recordings in which Rubiales and Pique spoke of multi-million value commissions were leaked.

Rubiales has always defended the legality of the deal to take the Super Cup to the oil-rich Gulf state, and in April 2022, Pique insisted that everything was "legal", saying he was "proud" of the deal.

In a TV interview last week, Rubiales denied any wrongdoing, saying he had "never taken a bribe" in his life nor "rigged a contract" saying the decision to take the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia was done because it was "the best offer".

The Spanish Super Cup took place for the first time in Saudi Arabia in 2020.

It returned to Spain for a year during the Covid-19 pandemic but the subsequent three competitions have taken place in Saudi.

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