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Gerard Pique investigated over alleged illegal Saudi payments

Former Manchester United defender Gerard Pique investigated over alleged illegal Saudi payments
Former Manchester United defender Gerard Pique investigated over alleged illegal Saudi payments

Gerard Pique, the former Spain and Barcelona defender, has been placed under official investigation over illegal payments in the relocation of the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia.

Judge Delia Rodrigo has concluded there were indications of wrongdoing in the deal between Pique’s company, Kosmos, and the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), according to a document from a Madrid-based court.

The document, which was made available to the press, says disgraced former RFEF president Luis Rubiales, Saudi government-owned Sela Sport Company and Pique signed an agreement in 2019 in which Kosmos would receive a €40million “success bonus” for the games being held in the Middle-Eastern country in a 10-year contract.

“The facts under investigation in the present proceedings originate from possible illegalities with criminal implications in contracting or agreements,” Judge Rodrigo wrote.

The annual showpiece fixtures between La Liga and Copa del Rey winners was moved to Saudi Arabia in 2020 and the agreements to move the competition away from Spain are now part of the corruption probe.

The switch was on the watch of Rubiales, who resigned as RFEF president last September over the kissing Spain forward Jenni Hermoso at the Women’s World Cup final presentation ceremony. Hermoso said the kiss was not consensual and she filed a legal complaint.

Documents showed the Saudi deal was worth €40 million (£34 million) per year with a further €4 million (£3.4 million) every year going to Kosmos, which was agreed while Pique was still playing for Barcelona. The former Manchester United player retired from playing in 2022.

He has since been involved, through Kosmos, in revamping tennis’ Davis Cup and also starting the alternative King’s League soccer seven-a-side competition in Spain that has expanded to Latin America.

Police arrested Rubiales and other federation employees in April. Rubiales was quickly released but the probe was then expanded to include his successor, Pedro Rocha.

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