Rubiales denies engagement in Saudi dealings amidst corruption probe


Former Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales has denied allegations that his decision to relocate the Spanish Supercopa to Saudi Arabia was influenced by his personal business interests.

Rubiales was detained and briefly questioned by police upon his arrival in Madrid from the Dominican Republic on Wednesday.

He is under investigation as part of a corruption probe related to a lucrative three-year deal made by the RFEF with the Saudi sports authority in 2019 to host the competition in Saudi Arabia.

“I have never had business in Saudi Arabia,” Rubiales told La Sexta TV prior to his return to Spain. “It’s a lie that I have land to build hotels in Saudi Arabia, which is what is being reported.”

Rubiales further refuted allegations of receiving illegal commissions during his tenure as the head of the Spanish Football Federation (FA).

The corruption and money laundering investigation also encompasses contracts signed by the Spanish FA for the renovation of Seville’s La Cartuja stadium. This stadium is set to host Saturday’s Copa del Rey final and serves as the venue for various other international games.

“Never [received payments],” Rubiales said. “The money in my accounts is the product of my work and my savings.”

Former Barcelona star Gerard Piqué’s sports entertainment company, Kosmos, was involved in the deal with the federation and Saudi Arabia.

“It was Kosmos that brought Saudi Arabia [offer],” Rubiales said. “We chose the better offer.

“The Qatar option was never an offer. I have not received a bribe from Piqué. He has neither offered me anything nor have I taken anything.”

In 2022, prosecutors initiated an investigation into the deal following leaked audio conversations between Rubiales and Piqué regarding potential commissions.

Recently, Spanish police conducted raids on a property owned by Rubiales in Granada, as well as the offices of the RFEF in Madrid, while Rubiales was in the Dominican Republic.

Seven individuals were arrested and subsequently released, with Rubiales identified as one of five additional individuals under investigation.

Additionally, Rubiales is facing a separate legal case. Prosecutors are seeking a 2-1/2-year jail term for Rubiales for an incident involving an unsolicited kiss on the lips of player Jenni Hermoso following Spain’s victory at the Women’s World Cup.

Rubiales, who was forced to resign in September following the scandal, has denied any wrongdoing.


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