Rubiales tells Spanish court he will return from Caribbean, cooperate with corruption probe

FILE - President of the Spanish Federation, Luis Rubiales, left, and Saudi General Sport Authority GSA chairman Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal carry the Spanish super cup during a press conference in Jiddah Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. Spanish police have arrested at least six people and raided the offices of the Spanish soccer federation as part of a corruption and money laundering investigation that includes suspicions regarding the federation’s deal with Saudi Arabia to take the Spanish Super Cup to the Middle Eastern country. Spain’s Guardia Civil said that they raided the federation’s offices near Madrid and a residence belonging to former federation president Luis Rubiales in the southern city of Granada. Police said that Rubiales was not among the six arrested. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)

FILE – President of the Spanish Federation, Luis Rubiales, left, and Saudi General Sport Authority GSA chairman Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal carry the Spanish super cup during a press conference in Jiddah Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. Spanish police have arrested at least six people and raided the offices of the Spanish soccer federation as part of a corruption and money laundering investigation that includes suspicions regarding the federation’s deal with Saudi Arabia to take the Spanish Super Cup to the Middle Eastern country. Spain’s Guardia Civil said that they raided the federation’s offices near Madrid and a residence belonging to former federation president Luis Rubiales in the southern city of Granada. Police said that Rubiales was not among the six arrested. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Former Spanish soccer boss Luis Rubiales says he will return to Spain to face a judicial probe into the business deal to hold the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia, court officials said on Thursday.

Rubiales was in the Dominican Republic when police raided a property belonging to him in Granada and the offices of the Spanish Football Federation in Madrid on Wednesday in a corruption and money laundering investigation. Officers made seven arrests. Rubiales was identified as one of five additional individuals put under investigation.

A court official told The Associated Press that Rubiales’ lawyer informed a Madrid-based court in the hours after the raids that he was willing to cooperate with authorities and had plans to fly home on April 6, but that he would be willing to come sooner if requested by a judge.

Rubiales’ lawyer included a copy of his plane ticket to fly back from the Dominican Republic. The court official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the case.

No arrest warrant has been issued by the court for Rubiales or any other person of interest in the case.

The office for Spain’s state prosecutors said 11 premises were raided for documents on Wednesday.

During his time as president of Spanish soccer, Rubiales overhauled the format of the Spanish Super Cup in 2020, creating a four-team mini tournament and moving the competition to Saudi Arabia as part of a deal that was reportedly worth 40 million euros (then $42 million) per tournament for the federation.

Prosecutors opened a probe of that deal in 2022 following leaked audio between Rubiales and then-Barcelona player Gerard Piqué regarding millions of dollars in commissions. Piqué’s sports entertainment company Kosmos was involved in the deal with the federation and Saudi Arabia.

A company official told the AP that no employee of Kosmos has been detained or placed under investigation and no property of the company has been raided.

Rubiales stepped down in September after causing an international scandal for kissing Spain player Jenni Hermoso without her consent at the Women’s World Cup final. He is facing a trial for allegedly sexually assaulting Hermoso. He has denied any wrongdoing.

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