Luis de la Fuente and Albert Luque, during an event in Switzerland in January of this year. DENIS BALIBOUSE (REUTERS)
Francisco de Jorge, judge of the National Court, has summoned four employees of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) to testify as witnesses for the Rubiales case. According to several legal sources, the magistrate has given the green light to the interrogations of Albert Luque, director of the selection; Rubén Rivera, marketing manager; Miguel García Caba, director of the Integrity area; and Patricia Pérez, press officer for the women's team. After the complaint of the Prosecutor's Office, the instructor keeps open an investigation for sexual assault and coercion on the kiss that Luis Rubiales, former president of the organization, gave to the player Jennifer Hermoso after the victory in the World Cup. The date set for the statements is still unknown.
The judge prohibits Luis Rubiales from approaching less than 200 meters from Jenni Hermoso
This is the first major initiative promoted by the magistrate after Rubiales declared himself as a defendant last Friday, when he was imposed a 200-meter restraining order from the player and prohibited from communicating with her. In that appearance, the former president of the RFEF denied that the kiss was non-consensual, as the player maintains; And he rejected that, after the scandal broke out, he pressured the athlete to come out to defend her version in public. A detail that she herself related at the headquarters of the Prosecutor's Office: "In her statement, [the player] said that both she and her closest environment suffered constant and repeated pressure from Luis Rubiales and his professional environment, to justify and approve the facts, "collects the complaint of the Public Ministry, that fits in that point the crime of coercion: "Hermoso suffered a situation of harassment, against the development of his life in peace, tranquility and freely," he rivets.
During the interrogation of Rubiales, the deputy prosecutor of the National Court, Marta Durántez, asked precisely about it, and was interested in the role that several RFEF workers would have played in the execution of these alleged coercions. According to legal sources, the Public Ministry put on the table the names of five employees of the Federation: among them, Albert Luque, Rubén Rivera and Jorge Vilda (the latter, former coach of the women's team). The first two, who allegedly traveled to Ibiza to pressure Hermoso, the judge has now called them to testify as witnesses.
The work of the other two mentioned is also in question. Miguel García Caba, responsible for Integrity, wrote the internal report on the kiss to Hermoso, which exculpated the former president by ensuring that "there was no conduct that invites the conclusion that he forced, violated or assaulted" the front. For her part, according to the specialized newspaper Relevo, the press chief Patricia Pérez starred in a controversial episode: she showed the player the statement that the RFEF sent to the media after the kiss to justify the act of Rubiales, which included some alleged words pronounced by the athlete. Before disseminating that note, the employee of the Federation told the player if she approved it, but she then asked if it was mandatory for her to do so. After Perez answered "yes," Hermoso told him to "do what you want" in an "act of snub," according to Relevo.
The judge's push to the Rubiales case also coincides with the pulse that the players maintain with the dome of the RFEF to achieve profound changes in its structure, which has already meant the dismissal of Jorge Vilda and Andreu Camps (until this week, secretary general of the Federation). The players want that, beyond the scope of the criminal proceedings, responsibilities are purified in the body among those who pressured Hermoso and harassed their teammates to endorse Rubiales' version. In their list two names stand out – those of Rubén Rivera and Albert Luque, for the trip to Ibiza, where the players were celebrating the title – but they also pillory Miguel García Caba and Pablo García Cuervo, director of Communication and superior of Patricia Pérez.
At the same time, the National Police has already gone to several media outlets to collect videos "related to the events", including EL PAÍS and As. The magistrate ordered that images of the kiss be obtained "from all angles", as well as "the minutes immediately before and after". Also, "the celebration in the dressing room" and "on the bus of the Spanish women's football team".
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