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Rubiales denies 'irregularities' in Spanish football corruption probe

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Rubiales denies 'irregularities' in Spanish football corruption probe
Spain's former football chief Luis Rubiales talks to media as he arrives to testify over an alleged graft scandal at the court in Madrid on April 29, 2024. - The 46-year-old returned to Spain from the Dominican Republic on April 3 and was briefly detained by police 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. (Photo by Pierre-Philippe MARCOU / AFP)

Disgraced former Spanish football federation chief Luis Rubiales denied any financial "irregularities" on Monday after testifying in court in a corruption probe into his time in charge.

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"What I maintain, and will always maintain, and I am convinced that justice will (demonstrate), is there has never been any money received in an irregular way," Rubiales told reporters after leaving the Madrid court.

Rubiales, 46, who resigned following global outrage after he forcibly kissed Women's World Cup star Jenni Hermoso last summer after the final, testified at length.

"I have answered all the questions I was asked, if I have to come here again I will be here, collaborating - I am the one most interested in clearing everything up," said Rubiales.

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Rubiales must appear in court every month and ask permission from the judge before making any trips outside of Spain, a court source told AFP.

Rubiales was briefly detained on his return to Spain from the Dominican Republic at the start of April as part of a probe into federation (RFEF) contracts signed since 2018, including one signed by Rubiales to take the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia.

"There has never been any irregular tender, we have been paid with the utmost excellence and in the pursuit of legality," added Rubiales.

On March 20th investigators searched Rubiales' house in the southern city of Granada among 11 locations in the alleged graft scandal.

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

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.

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 editions have returned to the oil-rich Gulf state.

New Spanish football president Pedro Rocha is also under investigation in the alleged graft case.

Rocha served as federation vice-president under Rubiales, then replaced him on an interim basis before being elected as chief this week.

Rubiales is also set to go on trial over the non-consensual kiss on Hermoso's lips, which under Spanish law can be classed as sexual assault.

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