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Rubiales arrested at airport over alleged federation graft scandal

(FILES) Former president of the Spanish football federation Luis Rubiales leaves the Audiencia Nacional court in Madrid on September 15, 2023. – Former president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), Luis Rubiales, who landed at Madrid airport in a plane from the Dominican Republic, was arrested on his return to Spain on April 3, 2024 by the Guardia Civil, which is investigating alleged irregular contracts during his term in office, Spanish media report. (Photo by Thomas COEX / AFP)

Spanish police briefly arrested disgraced ex-football chief Luis Rubiales on Wednesday in connection with an alleged graft scandal at the RFEF football federation when he was president.

The 46-year-old was detained at Madrid’s Barajas airport shortly after flying in from the Dominican Republic but released shortly afterwards, a Guardia Civil police spokesman said.

Sources close to the probe said he disembarked from the plane under a police escort before being questioned inside the airport.

His arrest came two weeks after investigators searched 11 locations, including the RFEF’s Madrid headquarters and Rubiales’ 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.

Spanish media reports said investigators were looking into RFEF contracts signed since 2018, including one signed by Rubiales to take the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia.

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

– Dominican

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