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Guardia Civil officers at the RFEF's headquarters near Madrid. J. J. Guillén (Efe)
Several arrests made as Spanish football is rocked by Super Cup corruption scandal
Football

Several arrests made as Spanish football is rocked by Super Cup corruption scandal

Disgraced former RFEF chief Luis Rubiales finds himself at the centre of a storm again after the Guardia Civil carried out raids on the federation headquarters and his property in Granada

Mateo Balín / Amador Gómez / Isaac Asenjo

Thursday, 21 March 2024, 14:35

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The Guardia Civil have arrested at least six individuals and conducted raids on multiple locations across the country as part of a sweeping investigation into allegations of corruption and money laundering within the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

On Wednesday, law enforcement officers carried out searches at the RFEF's offices in Las Rozas, on the outskirts of Madrid, as well as at a property in Granada linked to the organisation's former president, Luis Rubiales. Urban Dream, a hotel in Torrox owned by a close associate of Rubiales, was also searched.

Among those arrested are a number of men who formed part of Rubiales' inner circle, including Tomás González Cueto, an external legal adviser to the RFEF and right-hand man of Rubiales during his tenure; Pedro González Segura, director of legal services; and José Javier Giménez, director of human resources and also a friend of the former president.

The rest of those detained are business owners and lawyers linked to alleged irregular contracts involving the RFEF.

Rubiales not detained

Rubiales himself, who served as the president of the RFEF from 2018 to 2023, was not among those detained in Wednesday's raids. This is because he is currently in the Dominican Republic, where he has been residing for the past few months.

However, sources close to the operation have revealed that he is among five additional individuals officially under investigation.

The Prosecutor's Office has decided not to seek an international arrest warrant as Rubiales has informed them that he plans to return to Spain on 6 April to answer questions.

"I've done nothing wrong, and I'll address all allegations," he told El Español.

Super Cup

The investigation, stemming from a probe initiated in 2022, is believed to be linked to Rubiales' controversial decision to revamp the format of the Spanish Super Cup, relocating it to Saudi Arabia in a lucrative deal reportedly worth 40 million euros per tournament for the federation.

Prior to the launch of the investigation, leaked audio recordings surfaced, purportedly featuring conversations between Rubiales and former Barcelona player Gerard Piqué (whose company Kosmos brokered the deal) discussing substantial commissions.

Both Rubiales and Piqué have vehemently denied any wrongdoing or conflicts of interest.

Controversial figure

Rubiales' tenure as president had been consistently marred by controversy, including an incident where he grabbed women's team player Jenni Hermoso by the head and kissed her during the medal ceremony at the World Cup in Sydney.

He resigned from his position in September amid mounting legal challenges, including allegations of sexual assault and coercion, which are currently under investigation by Spain's highest criminal court.

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