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Ángel María Villar, the president of the Spanish soccer federation, was arrested in fraud investigation

Ángel María Villar, 67, the president of the Spanish soccer federation and a FIFA vice president, was arrested on Tuesday as part of a fraud investigation relating to matches played by Spain’s national team. He was detained alongside his son, Gorka, and other soccer officials.

The arrest, in connection with an investigation triggered by a complaint filed in early 2016 over how the federation had organized and financed some matches played by the national team, was ordered by a judge from Spain’s national court and follows a series  of investigations of finances of the national team. They were accused of crimes including embezzlement, fraud and the falsification of documents.

Spania-soccer-team
Spania soccer team

Mr. Villar was accused of using the games to benefit Gorka Villar, a sports lawyer. Gorka Villar became one of the leading officials in South American soccer, as director general of Conmebol, the region’s federation, until he resigned last year. Villar was previously linked in different corruption probes but re-elected unopposed in May as president of the national federation. Last year he was also the interim president of UEFA, the European soccer authority, overseeing the European Championships. The legal problems of Mr. Villar and his federation date to April 2014, when the superior council of sports, a Spanish state agency, launched an investigation. On Tuesday, the president of Spain’s council of sports, José Ramón Lete, told Spanish news media that the arrest of Mr. Villar showed that Spain was a functioning state of law.

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