Embattled Rubiales denies Saudi ventures amid corruption probe

Former Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales denied that his decision to move the Spanish Supercopa to Saudi Arabia was motivated by his own business investments.

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

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He is being investigated as part of a corruption probe into the lucrative three-year deal agreed by the RFEF with the Saudi sports authority in 2019 to stage 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 also denied he has received illegal commissions while at the helm of the Spanish FA.

The corruption and money laundering investigation is also looking into contracts signed by the Spanish FA for the renovation of Seville’s La Cartuja stadium, which will host Saturday’s Copa del Rey final and also stages 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.”

Prosecutors opened a probe of that deal in 2022 following leaked audio between Rubiales and Piqué regarding commissions.

Spanish police recently raided a property belonging to Rubiales in Granada while he was in the Dominican Republic as well as the offices of the RFEF in Madrid.

Seven people were arrested before being released and Rubiales was identified as one of five additional individuals under investigation.

Rubiales is also facing a separate case.

Prosecutors are seeking a 2-1/2-year jail term for Rubiales for his unsolicited kiss on the lips of player Jenni Hermoso following Spain‘s win at the Women’s World Cup final.

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