Paraguay has granted former Brazilian football superstar Ronaldinho house arrest in after he and his brother allegedly entered the country using “fake” passports.
Paraguay national police arrested Ronaldinho and his brother Roberto Assis on March 4 for entering the country using false documents but were granted house arrest.
According to the prosecutor’s office, police officials discovered several documents in the possession of the football star, including ID cards and Paraguayan passports in the men’s names.
The arrest was confirmed by Ronaldinho’s lawyer Sergio Queiroz and said that an injunction has been filed by his legal team in Paraguay to release the former footballer and his brother.
The brothers were invited to Paraguay by a local casino owner to take part in a football clinic for children, and a book launch.
Gilberto Fleitas, the head of the investigations unit of the Paraguayan police, explained that the brothers were taken into custody after a judge refused to ratify a prosecutor’s proposal for an alternative punishment.
Prior to receiving house arrest, both Ronaldinho and his brother, who also functions as his business manager, were being held in a prison in Asunción. They appeared in court via a video conference on Tuesday.
The ruling was announced by Judge Gustavo Amarilla, who explained that each man had paid a bond of $800,000. They will be staying in a hotel in the Paraguayan capital as investigations are being carried out.
News outlets in Paraguay covered the sentencing of the brothers live.
Police officers claimed that Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, also known as Ronaldinho, was using authentic passports that contained false details.
According to the prosecutors, the police found the documents during a search of their suite at the Yacht Resort Hotel and Golf Club in Lambaré, near Asunción. They pointed out that in order to be granted a Paraguayan passport, a person must live for a certain amount of time in the country.
In a Facebook post, public prosecutor Federico Delfino said: “Ronaldinho and his brother entered the country at 9.05 a.m. on a commercial flight which landed at Silvio Petirossi International Airport. They entered using a Paraguayan passport which was authentic but contained false information.”
“We now know that the numbers of these passports belong to other people. They are real passports but with fake details. They were issued in January 2020, and the ID cards, which were given to them when they arrived, in December,” Delfino added.
According to Paraguay officials, they initially believed their Brazilian counterparts had previously taken away the brother’s Brazilian passports due to financial issues. However, they learned that the documents were returned to the brothers in October 2019.
The Paraguayan Attorney General’s Office stated that the Brazilian government informed them that both Ronaldinho and his brother left Brazil using their real Brazilian passports.
Ronaldinho remains popular globally despite playing his last professional game in 2015. In 2004 and 2005, he was named FIFA World Player of the year. He won the 2002 World Cup as part of the Brazilian national team.
He also secured the Champions League with Barcelona in 2006.
Over his 17-year playing career, he played for several top European clubs, including Barcelona, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain. He also played 97 times for the Brazil national team, scoring 33 goals over that span.