Span­ish foot­ball chief held in fraud probe

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Madrid, Spain - Po­lice raided the head­quar­ters of Spain's foot­ball fed­er­a­tion on Tues­day and ar­rested its pres­i­dent An­gel Maria Vil­lar as part of an anti-cor­rup­tion probe, a ju­di­cial source said.

Vil­lar, 67, a se­nior vice-pres­i­dent of FIFA, world foot­ball's gov­ern­ing body, was be­ing held on sus­pi­cion of abus­ing his po­si­tion to em­bez­zle funds from the fed­er­a­tion, among other charges, the source said.

FIFA de­clined to com­ment on the ar­rest, with a spokesman say­ing, "As the mat­ter seems to be linked to in­ter­nal af­fairs of the Span­ish Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion, for the time be­ing we kindly re­fer you to them for fur­ther de­tails."

Vil­lar's son Gorka and an­other se­nior fed­er­a­tion of­fi­cial were among those also de­tained in the probe which notably fo­cuses on al­le­ga­tions of skim­ming prof­its from in­ter­na­tional matches, the source said.

Spain's po­lit­i­cal and fi­nan­cial crimes court said it is di­rect­ing the probe into al­le­ga­tions of "col­lu­sion, fraud, em­bez­zle­ment and pre­sumed forgery."

Po­lice who car­ried out raids on the fed­er­a­tion head­quar­ters and other lo­ca­tions re­lated to the probe said that Vil­lar is sus­pected of or­gan­is­ing in­ter­na­tional foot­ball matches as part of a scheme to em­bez­zle funds for the ben­e­fit of his son.

Inigo Men­dez de Vigo, a spokesman for the Span­ish gov­ern­ment, told pub­lic tele­vi­sion in re­sponse to the Vil­lar ar­rest that "no-one is un­touch­able and ev­ery­one must obey the law."

Vil­lar, a former act­ing pres­i­dent and cur­rent vice-pres­i­dent of UEFA, has headed the Span­ish fed­er­a­tion since 1988. He was re­elected for an eighth term in May.

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