Ronaldinho Faces Six Months In Jail For Entering Paraguay With Fake Passport

March 8, 2020
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Brazilian legend Ronaldinho has been warned he could be jailed for up to six months as an investigation sparked by his use of a fake passport to enter Paraguay continues.

Ronaldinho, 39, spent a second night in a police cell after being refused bail by a judge on Saturday.

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The judge accepted prosecutors’ claims Ronaldinho posed a serious flight risk if he was released from custody.

He is thought to have been spared the nightmare scenario of a normal prison because of his status as one of the world’s best ever footballers.

His lawyers are expected to appeal the decision to incarcerate him while a criminal investigation continues.

But the probe is set to last around six months and Ronaldinho has been warned there is no guarantee he will be freed on bail until a decision on whether to try him is taken.

Even if he is released, authorities are expected to order him to remain in Paraguay until the investigation is completed.

Ronaldinho’s brother and business manager Roberto, who also entered Paraguay on Wednesday with a fake passport, is being held in the same police station in the capital Asuncion.

Three other people, a Brazilian businessman alleged to have given Ronaldinho and his brother their passports which stated they were naturalised Paraguayans and two women believed to be the legitimate owners of the travel documents, are also in custody.

The footballer and his brother are claiming they were tricked. Ronaldinho’s lawyer has said Ronaldinho had been given his Paraguayan passport as a “gift”, assumed it was an ‘honorary-type’ document of no real value, and gave it to an official without thinking when he reached Paraguay because it was the “first thing he got out of his bag.”

The 2002 FIFA World Cup winner officially retired from football in 2018. The same year he was forced to deny bigamy claims.

He had his Brazilian passport confiscated after he was convicted alongside his brother of building an illegal fishing platform on a lake in a conservation area, but Paraguayan prosecutors confirmed earlier this week they had discovered it had been returned to him and he used it to leave Brazil on a flight from Sao Paulo.

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