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Footballer Gerard Piqué, on his way out of court on Thursday morning. EFE
Former professional football player Gerard Piqué accused of 'irregularities' in transfer of Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia
Courts

Former professional football player Gerard Piqué accused of 'irregularities' in transfer of Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia

The judge in the 'Brody case' said there is evidence of a crime in the payment of four million euros a year that the former Barcelona player received for his part in taking the Supercopa to the Gulf state

Melchor Sáiz-Pardo

Madrid

Saturday, 1 June 2024, 22:45

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Judge Delia Rodrigo Díaz, who is investigating the alleged irregularities in the moving of the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia, has agreed to charge Gerard Piqué for his involvement in this alleged corruption case involving the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF). The head of Investigating Court number 4 of Majadahonda assured that there is evidence of a crime in the payment of four million euros a year that the former Barcelona player received for his part in taking the Supercopa to the Gulf state.

The investigator of the so-called 'Brody case' recalled that, in 2020, Piqué, the then president of the RFEF Luis Rubiales - already charged in this case and a close friend of the former FC Barcelona player - and Saudi Arabia signed an addendum to the initial contract for the Super Cup that extended the holding of this competition in that country for a total of ten years. According to the court order, the judge considered of special interest that in these contracts "a clause was included, which was called 'essential', by which the Spanish Federation tried to guarantee the payment of the commission of 4,000,000 euros per year in favour of Kosmos (Piqué's company), even though this company would formally be the commission agent of SELA (representative of the Saudi authorities)".

For the judge, it is particularly important that "at the time of the contract, the defendant, Gerard Piqué Bernabéu, was an active player for FC Barcelona, the football team that participated in the Super Cup". In fact, the indictment of the former Barcelona centre-back comes two months after the same judge - in a ruling dated 21 March - openly insinuated that Luis Rubiales, then president of the FEF, could have influenced the referees to ensure that Real Madrid and Barcelona always played the Super Cup in Saudi Arabia. Since the RFEF signed the controversial contract with Kosmos that moved the tournament to the Middle East from the 2019-2020 season, neither club has missed out on the Super Cup, which is contested by the top two La Liga finishers and the two Copa Del Rey finalists.

Close associates of Rubiales also charged

In the same order in which the Madrid investigator declared the former Barcelona player under investigation, the judge also charged the company Gruconsa (allegedly used to hide the money), and 15 other people in this plot. Among them, the lawyer Tomás González Cueto; Francisco Javier Martín Alcaide, better known as 'Nene' and a close friend of Rubiales; 'Nene's' wife, Purificación Rufino Domínguez; and the former head of the RFEF's legal services, Pedro González Segura. In addition to other high-ranking officials of the federation against whom Judge Rodrigo believes she has evidence that they participated in the rigging of contracts and agreements and in the subsequent concealment of funds of illicit origin coming from Riyadh. The magistrate, however, does not rule out extending the accusations of alleged corruption in business with a new crime: money laundering.

The magistrate places these new defendants in a "corporate network made up of FEF executives, federation employees and businessmen, all of them people close, in one way or another, to the former president of the federation, Mr. Rubiales".

Piqué and Kosmos had been in the crosshairs of the Guardia Civil for months, which is trying to close all aspects of the case with a series of proceedings aimed at clarifying the payments received by their company in Andorra for the organisation of the Super Cup. The central operational unit (UCO) of the Guardia Civil - acting as the judicial police by order of the court in Majadahonda - already requested six months ago to trace the accounts in Spain and Andorra related to the former Barcelona player and president of Kosmos due to his alleged connection with the contract negotiated with Rubiales.

Specifically, the UCO asked the court on 19 September 2023 to request information from the Andorran Principality's authorities, specifically addressed to the bank MoraBanc Grup, on a series of transfers related to this contract. The agents focused on the accounts of Andorra, a team owned by Piqué which competes in Spain's Segunda División and has already been relegated to the third tier, to find out the destination of the funds from an account titled by Kosmos.

Successful payments

In this account, the police official statement said, "the successful payments made by SELA Sport Company in consideration for the intermediation services provided in the negotiations with the FEF for the organisation of the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi territory have been collected." These payments are estimated by the UCO at four million euros per year, meaning at the end of the ten-year contract, Kosmos would receive 40 million euros.

The UCO explained that their request for information is related to the intention to "verify the possibility of economic bribes" to Luis Rubiales or other FEF executives by Kosmos or Gerard Piqué and his entourage, "as a result of the negotiation for the celebration of the Spanish Super Cup."

"It is imperative to be able to fully trace the funds received by Kosmos," the UCO continues, according to the report accessed by this newspaper, which notes that "there is a large flow of money between accounts."

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