Judge includes ex-player Gerard Pique in probe into Saudi Arabia deal for Spanish Super Cup

Thu, May 30, 2024
Soccer News (AP)

Judge includes ex-player Gerard Pique in probe into Saudi Arabia deal for Spanish Super Cup

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - A Spanish judge expanded her investigation into the Spanish soccer federation's deal to take the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia to include former player Gerard Pique on Thursday.

In court documents made available to the press, judge Delia Rodrigo formally included the former Spain and Barcelona defender in a group of people now under official investigation.

The probe is examining suspicions of corruption and money laundering in the hosting of the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia in a lucrative move made by former federation president Luis Rubiales in 2019.

The Madrid-based court said Thursday that contracts signed between the federation and Saudi Arabia in 2019 and 2020 concluded in a 10-year agreement to stage the mini soccer tournament in the Middle Eastern nation for 40 million euros ($43 million) a year.

But documents confiscated by police raids in March showed that another 4 million euros a year was to be paid as a commission to Pique's sports entertainment company Kosmos while Pique was still playing for Barcelona and participating in the Super Cup.

Pique has since retired from soccer. Kosmos was involved in revamping tennis' Davis Cup and also starting the alternative King's League soccer competition in Spain that has expanded to Latin America.

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In April, the same judge requested or a bank account of Kosmos to be frozen.

Kosmos did not immediately respond to messages requesting comment.

The case is still at its investigative phase. The judge can either conclude to shelve it or recommend it go to trial.

Police arrested Rubiales and other federation employees earlier in April. He was released quickly released. The probe was then expanded to include Rubiales' successor, Pedro Rocha.

Rocha took over as interim federation president after Rubiales stepped down in September, weeks after he became a national embarrassment for kissing a player without her consent during the Women's World Cup awards ceremony.

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