Disgraced ex-Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales is ARRESTED on the airport tarmac as he flies back from the Dominican Republic to face corruption questions while at risk of jail over World Cup kiss-gate

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Former Spanish FA boss Luis Rubiales was detained on Wednesday morning
  • There is an ongoing corruption probe linked to his time as head of the Spanish FA
  • Have a day off, Pep! Guardiola’s lecture to Grealish on the Etihad pitch was unnecessary, says Ian Ladyman – It’s All Kicking Off 

Former Spanish FA boss Luis Rubiales – who was at the heart of Spain’s ‘Kissgate’ scandal’ – was detained by authorities on Wednesday morning. 

Detectives were waiting for him as he stepped off an Air Europa flight from the Dominican Republic which landed at Madrid’s Barajas Airport just after 10.30am local time.

Rubiales was placed in the custody of the Civil Guard as soon as he got off the plane and was escorted into a police van and taken to their headquarters in Tres Cantos.

Speculation rose overnight whether the 46-year-old father-of-three would be arrested and brought out of the arrivals area in handcuffs to be met by an army of journalists and photographers waiting for him.

However, footage emerged on social media that showed the former Spanish chief entering a blacked out van with two Civil Guards before leaving the airport. 

Former Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales was detained on Wednesday amid an ongoing corruption probe linked to his time as head of the Spanish FA

A Spanish court has been investigating Rubiales (L) over decision in 2019 to relocate the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia

A Spanish court has been investigating Rubiales (L) over decision in 2019 to relocate the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia 

Footage emerged on Wednesday that showed the 46-year-old entering a Civil Guard van just after 10.30am local time, after officers awaited his arrival at Madrid's Barajas Airport

Footage emerged on Wednesday that showed the 46-year-old entering a Civil Guard van just after 10.30am local time, after officers awaited his arrival at Madrid’s Barajas Airport

Police searched the apartment belonging to former FA president Rubiales last month

 Police searched the apartment belonging to former FA president Rubiales last month

He is set to be taken to a police station where he is expected to be formally read his rights and handed a court summons as part of an ongoing corruption probe linked to his time as head of the Spanish FA and focusing on business deals thought to include one to hold the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia. 

A judge is expected to question him in a closed court hearing in the coming days before being released on bail pending an ongoing probe.

The investigation, led by a judge based in Majadahonda on the outskirts of Madrid, is unrelated to the separate ‘Kissgate’ probe.

Last month public prosecutors involved in that case said they were seeking a two-and-a-half year prison sentence over the ‘unwanted’ kiss Rubiales gave footballer Jenni Hermoso following the Spain’s World Cup women’s team’s finals victory over England last August.

They said in an indictment sent to Madrid-based judge Francisco de Jorge they wanted him jailed for a year if he was found guilty at trial of sexual assault and another one and a half years for coercion linked to his alleged attempts to get the footballer to speak out in his defence following his World Cup kiss.

Around the same time Spanish public prosecutors asked for Rubiales to be arrested over alleged financial irregularities while he was in charge of the Spanish FA.

Rubiales’ home in the southern Spanish city of Granada was one of several properties searched on March 20 but he was already in the Caribbean.

Rubiales had already said he would return to Spain and insisted it would be on April 6 but overnight it emerged he had changed his travel plans.

He is thought to have avoided an embarrassing arrest, and a photo of him in handcuffs, after confirming his voluntary return ahead of and after a Spanish police operation in the Dominican Republic on Monday with assistance from local officers.

He rescheduled his return to Madrid after Spanish police investigators flew to the Caribbean and confiscated his phone and a laptop during a reported search of the property he has been staying at on the Caribbean island.

Spanish Civil Guards stand awaiting the arrival of Rubiales at Madrid's airport on Wednesday

Spanish Civil Guards stand awaiting the arrival of Rubiales at Madrid’s airport on Wednesday

Rubiales kissed Hermoso on the lips without her consent following Spain’s World Cup success 

Prosecutors in Spain are pushing for Rubiales to receive a 2.5-year prison term over 'Kissgate'

Prosecutors in Spain are pushing for Rubiales to receive a 2.5-year prison term over ‘Kissgate’

Rubiales has denied any wrongdoing in both the ongoing corruption probe and the ‘Kissgate’ case.

In a TV interview with Spanish journalist Ana Pastor, set to be screened tonight on La Sexta, he will deny allegations he embezzled millions of pounds from the Spanish FA and insist: ‘My money is the product of my work and my savings.’

He is also expected to accuse the judge who charged him with coercion and sexual assault over his ‘unwanted’ Jenni Hermoso kiss of manipulation by saying: ‘I think his way of describing my words is manipulative.’

A clip of the interview released overnight shows Rubiales, who went to the Dominican Republic earlier this year for work reasons, reacting angrily to claims by Ana Pastor his defence has involved attacking the football player.

Pastor was on the same plane as the former Spanish FA chief, who had seat number 25L, and described the flight as ‘eventful’ saying there had been turbulence and several people had fainted.

Defiant Rubiales promised to ‘defend his innocence’ after announcing on September 10 last year he was quitting as Spanish FA president following the ‘Kissgate’ scandal. He was subsequently banned from football by FIFA for three years.

He tweeted as his resignation decision to resign was made public: ‘I will defend my honourability. I will defend my innocence.

‘I have faith in the future. I have faith in the truth. Thanks to everybody.’

He finished his tweet by posting a photo of the Spanish flag.

Spain international footballer Hermoso pictured arriving at court in Madrid back in January

Spain international footballer Hermoso pictured arriving at court in Madrid back in January

Rubiales, who had apologised for grabbing his crotch during the post-final World Cup celebrations in front of Spain’s Queen Letizia and her 16-year-old daughter, had said in a lengthy statement before announcing his decision to quit: ‘The spontaneity and happiness of the historic moment led us to carry out a mutual and consensual act, a product of great enthusiasm.

‘At no time was there any aggression, indeed, there was not even the slightest discomfort, but an overflowing joy in both of us.’

Rubiales’ 72-year-old mum Angeles Bejar went on hunger strike at a church in her son’s hometown of Motril near Granada for two days after being rushed to hospital 48 hours into her protest.

She said at the time she had launched it to get Jenni to ‘tell the truth’ about the kiss.

Speaking from the inside of the church before falling ill, she said: ‘I just want the truth to be told.

‘She knows my son is very honest. If she tells the truth everything will be fixed.’

Rubiales' 72-year-old mum Angeles Bejar (left) went on hunger strike at a church in her son's hometown of Motril near Granada for two days

Rubiales’ 72-year-old mum Angeles Bejar (left) went on hunger strike at a church in her son’s hometown of Motril near Granada for two days 

The incident completely overshadowed Spain's World Cup win and sparked outrage across the football world - igniting one of the worst crises in the history of the sport in Spain

The incident completely overshadowed Spain’s World Cup win and sparked outrage across the football world – igniting one of the worst crises in the history of the sport in Spain

No date for his trial over his Jenni Hermoso kiss has yet been announced.

Rubiales has not been formally charged with any crime as part of Operation Brody, the ongoing probe linked to alleged irregularities while he was still Spanish FA president.

A judge is however investigating him on suspicion of crimes including corruption and money laundering.

Overnight respected Spanish daily El Mundo said police investigators have concluded Rubiales diverted at least EUROS 3.8 million (POUNDS 3.25 million) from the Spanish FA to a construction firm that paid him kickbacks through a company controlled by a close friend.

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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