Luis Rubiales, the former president of the Spanish soccer federation, denied any wrongdoing when questioned by a judge investigating his kissing a player on the lips last month at the FIFA Women's World Cup, Spain's state prosecutors' office said Friday.
Judge Francisco de Jorge earlier this week ordered Rubiales to answer questions at Spain's National Court.
Rubiales kissed Spain forward Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the awards ceremony after Spain beat England to win the title on August 20 in Sydney, Australia. He said she had consented to the kiss, but Hermoso has denied that repeatedly.
Spanish state prosecutors formally accused Rubiales last week of sexual assault and an act of coercion. According to Hermoso, Rubiales pressured her to speak out in his defence immediately after the scandal erupted.
The state prosecutors' office said Rubiales denied both accusations when answering questions by the judge in an hour-long hearing that was closed to the public. Neither Rubiales nor his defence lawyer, Olga Tubau, spoke to the media outside the National Court.
Hermoso's lawyer, Carla Vall i Duran, said they were satisfied with the hearing. “We can continue to affirm that the kiss was not consented to, which is what we have said from the very beginning,” Vall i Duran said. “Thanks to the (images of the kiss), the entire world, the entire country, has been able to observe there was no type of consent. And, we are going to prove that in the courtroom.”
State prosecutors asked the judge to consider issuing a restraining order to prohibit Rubiales from coming within 500 meters (yards) of Hermoso or trying to communicate with her, as well as a requirement for him to check in with a court every 15 days to ensure he does not flee the country. The judge will have to decide whether to apply those measures.
Rubiales announced on Sunday that he was resigning from his post as president of the soccer federation. He had already been provisionally suspended by the soccer governing body International Federation of Association Football.
De Jorge is carrying out the preliminary investigation into the accusations against Rubiales, and will then decide whether the case should go to trial.
According to a sexual consent law passed in Spain last year, Rubiales could face a fine or a prison sentence of one to four years if found guilty of sexual assault. The new law eliminated the difference between sexual harassment and sexual assault, sanctioning any non-consensual sexual act.