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Spain's federation chief held in fraud probe

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, which runs European football, has headed the Spanish federation since 1988. He was reelected unopposed for an eighth term in May despite allegations of vote-rigging that cast a shadow over his win. His son Gorka Villar is a former director general of CONMEBOL, the South American football confederation, a post he quit in July last year. Agencies

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