July 20, 2017 / 6:35 PM / a year ago

Spanish football federation boss to be held in custody over graft case

MADRID (Reuters) - The head of Spain’s football federation and FIFA vice-president Angel Maria Villar will be held in custody without bail pending an investigation into corruption allegations, a Spanish High Court judge ruled on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: Spain's Football Federation President Angel Maria Villar talks to journalists after signing a cooperation agreement for a joint bid for the 2018 World Cup with Portugal's Football Federation in Lisbon January 19, 2009. REUTERS/Nacho Doce/File photo

Villar, along with his son Gorka and two other football executives, was arrested on Tuesday after a police raid on several offices. The four were detained on allegations of collusion, embezzlement and falsifying documents.

Investigating magistrate Santiago Pedraz said in a written ruling on Thursday that he considered Villar to be a flight risk. Pedraz ordered that Villar, his son, who is a sports lawyer, and Juan Padron, who looks after financial affairs at the RFEF, be held in custody during the probe.

The judge set bail for Ramon Angel Hernandez, a member of the football federation in the Spanish island of Tenerife and who was also among those arrested on Tuesday, at 100,000 euros ($116,290).

The RFEF Spanish federation and the Tenerife football federation could not immediately be reached for comment on behalf of those arrested and they have made no public comment on the case since Tuesday.

Villar, a one-time midfielder for Athletic Bilbao, has headed up the RFEF for nearly 30 years and is also a vice-president of UEFA.

He was fined 25,000 Swiss francs ($26,000) last year by FIFA’s Ethics Committee for failing to co-operate with an investigation into the contest to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, which triggered the worst crisis in the football world governing body’s history.

($1 = 0.8599 euros)

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Reporting by Sarah White; Editing by Alison Williams

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