The Civil Guard tracks millions of emails from the football federation in the Rubiales era | Soccer | Sports

The Central Operational Unit (UCO) of the Civil Guard tracks millions of emails intercepted during the searches carried out at the headquarters of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) for alleged irregularities in contracts created during Luis Rubiales’ time as president, according to sources from the agency and the investigation. During the almost 20 hours that the police intervention lasted (from 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday to more than 3:00 a.m. on Thursday) at the Las Rozas facilities (Madrid), investigators inspected the servers in search of new incriminating evidence and According to these sources, they were looking for communications that contained keywords, such as “Super Cup”, “Arabia”, “Nené”, “Cartuja” and “Gruconsa”.

The agents examined emails sent since 2018, when Rubiales took over the power of the RFEF, until today, sources from the investigation emphasize, which emphasize that the seized emails will now have to be analyzed. According to various sources, they amount to up to five million; and more than twenty personal and corporate accounts were inspected. In this case, dubbed Operation Brody, alleged irregularities are investigated in contracts sealed in the federation in the last five years, some of them linked to the celebration of the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia. The agents of the armed institute have also focused on contracts for events held in China and on works at the La Cartuja stadium in Seville, which involve the construction company Gruconsa. The case investigates crimes of business corruption, unfair administration and money laundering. This Wednesday, seven people were arrested, but not Rubiales, who was in the Dominican Republic with former soccer player Francisco Javier Martín Alcaide, alias Babya friend of the former director who is also under suspicion.

At the same time, the European Union Agency for Police Cooperation (Europol) has explained to EL PAÍS that it is analyzing the traceability of cryptocurrency accounts that are attributed to members of the alleged plot. Europol, which has supported the Civil Guard in the operation and has deployed several agents in Spain, is also working on comparing the seized data with the agency’s bases, to see if it finds international coincidences and new clues.

Operation Brody led to the searches on Wednesday after the federation did not respond for months to the information requests made by the investigator of the case, Delia Rodrigo, who heads the Court of First Instance and Instruction 4 of Majadahonda (Madrid). Sources from the RFEF insisted this Thursday that the magistrate’s requests were attended to in the first instance by the corresponding departments, and they attribute responsibility for the lack of response to several of the detainees: the director of legal services, Pedro González Segura , and the external advisor Tomás González Cueto, as well as the latter’s partner Ramón Caravaca, who is being investigated although he was not arrested. “All the documentation requested was given to them to send. We never knew they didn’t do it,” these sources justify.

On the same day of the arrests, the federation issued a note in which it assured its willingness to offer “full collaboration” in the investigations and insisted on “reaching the ultimate consequences in the ongoing investigation.” Almost 24 hours later, the agency issued a second note to announce that it had removed from his position the employee identified as allegedly responsible for not sending the documentation to the court, González Segura, as well as to explain that it had terminated the contract with GC Legal, the law firm of González Cueto y Caravaca. The RFEF has reported that it has sanctioned a fourth person allegedly involved, the director of Human Resources, José Javier Jiménez, whom it has opened a file and removed from his duties.

The Granada connection

Among the open lines of investigation, the agents have placed their sights on the construction company Gruconsa (Grupo Conector SA) and on the brothers Ángel and Pedro González Segura, arrested on Wednesday. Currently, Pedro, whom the Civil Guard has already released while waiting for the judge to call him to testify, was serving as director of the legal services of the RFEF. His connection with the world of football goes back a long way. A decade ago, Pedro González Segura was the secretary of the board of directors of the Granada Club de Fútbol, ​​at the time when the Andalusian team was controlled by Gino Pozzo, owner of the English Watford and member of the clan that runs the Italian Udinese, and chaired by Enrique Pina, alias Quique PinaThe club changed hands in 2016, when it was acquired by the Chinese investment group Wuhan DDMC Football Club Management, which separated itself from all of them.

At the stage of Pina and Pozzo, who are being prosecuted in the National Court for a tax fraud scheme and for whom the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office is asking for 12 years in prison, the figure of Ángel González Segura also emerges in Granada’s organizational chart. The Nasrid team presented him in 2014 as its head of infrastructure, and he was in charge of guiding the visit that several journalists made then to the works of the new sports city, under construction at that time. Ángel González Segura was fired in mid-2018, according to sources from the club’s current management.

Precisely, a Gruconsa dossier attributes several projects carried out in the facilities of this club: such as the “adaptation” of the New Los Cármenes Stadium and the “Second Phase of the Sports City”, although the current Granada management affirms that it has no no relationship with this company and that the second phase work that they presented never materialized. Furthermore, in said dossier, the construction company states that it has carried out work for Watford and Udinese. And, in 2020, conditioning work at the La Cartuja Stadium in Seville, on which the agents focus due to suspicions that there were irregular cost overruns by inflating the work certifications, according to sources close to the investigations.

The connection with the city of Granada, where Rubiales has his house (which was registered on Wednesday), is even broader. There, the investigators entered the headquarters of a company located in the Urban Dream hotel, according to the same sources. Part of the facilities of a second hotel were also searched, this one located in the Malaga town of Torrox.

Projects in China

The Civil Guard is also investigating the alleged existence of irregularities in a project in China announced with great fanfare in June 2020 by Rubiales himself. The then president of the federation signed an agreement with a consortium of Chinese companies for “advice and training to develop football in the Asian country” for 10 years. The project, in which the company Gruconsa participated, as highlighted on its website, contemplated the federation advising Chinese companies on the construction of a “football city” near Beijing, similar to the one that exists in Las Rozas (Madrid), as in the project to build four other similar ones in as many large cities in the Asian country.

The RFEF assured that the final objective was to “export Spanish talent to the Asian giant” and, with this, “generate hundreds of jobs for coaches, physiotherapists, technicians and other professionals in the field of football in Spain, thanks to the demand that will be produced in China for this type of training.” Then, the federation did not reveal the money it was going to receive for this agreement and this Thursday the sources of the organization consulted claim not to know the details of a project that should have been in force until 2030, but that foundered shortly after being signed for reasons never known. explained. “Chinese companies paid certain amounts of money at the beginning,” admit sources from the agency. The UCO suspects that part of those funds were diverted.

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