Spanish police raid Luis Rubiales’ house as part of corruption investigation

Spanish police raid Luis Rubiales’ house as part of corruption investigation

Several arrests made amid allegations of money laundering

Football federation HQ and Rubiales’ property in Granada raided

Police have arrested at least six people and raided the headquarters of the Spanish Football Federation and a residence belonging to its former president, Luis Rubiales, as part of an investigation into allegations of corruption and money laundering.

Spanish police told the Associated Press that Rubiales, who made headlines around the world after an unsolicited kiss and defiant refusal  to step down, was not among those arrested on Wednesday. However, a source connected to the operation said Rubiales was among five additional people officially put under investigation.

The rise and fall of Luis Rubiales: from Spanish football president to pariah

Police said they raided the federation’s base in Las Rozas on the outskirts of Madrid and a residence in the southern city of Granada that belongs to Rubiales, who led the federation from 2018 to 2023. Images captured by Spanish media showed police emerging from an apartment in Granada’s city centre carrying a cardboard box labelled “Luis Rubiales” along with several other bags.

Rubiales was not at home at the time, police said on Wednesday. Spanish prosecutors said raids had been carried out on 11 premises and that it expected seven people to be arrested.

The Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia linked the raids to an investigation, launched in 2022, of Rubiales’s decision to overhaul the format of the Spanish Super Cup and move it to Saudi Arabia as part of the deal  reportedly worth €40m per tournament for the federation.

One month before the investigation was launched, a Spanish news website published leaked audio of conversations between Rubiales and the former Barcelona player, Gerard Piqué, in which they seemingly discussed millions of dollars in commissions.

Piqué, who has played in two Super Cups in Saudi Arabia for Barcelona, has denied wrongdoing or conflict of interest. Shortly after the investigation was launched, Rubiales also denied any wrongdoing. “I am calm because I have not done anything illegal,” he said in 2022.

Spanish prosecutors said that Wednesday’s operation was part of a wider investigation into allegations of corruption in business, improper management of assets and money laundering.

Rubiales stepped down  in September, three weeks after he grabbed Spain’s Jenni Hermoso by the head, pulled her towards him and planted a kiss on her lips during the medal ceremony at the World Cup in Sydney.

Spain’s highest criminal court is investigatng Rubiales for alleged sexual assault and coercion. Rubiales has denied any wrongdoing.