Iconic Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho was recently arrested in Paraguay for allegedly travelling in the country with a counterfeit passport. While the superstar is currently in detention, his lawyers are pushing for a temporary bail out of the jail before a proper hearing takes place. While statements have come forward that the player himself had no hand in the fake passport arrangements, the footballer’s trial hasn’t taken place yet.
The former Barcelona and AC Milan icon arrived in Paraguay along with his brother Roberto after receiving invitation for a conference arranged by some charitable organisations. While the immigration didn’t recognise the fake passports, the police later raided the footballer’s hotel room and seized their IDs.
Although the public prosecutor Federico Delfino has not pursued charges against Ronaldinho and Roberto, the brothers are still kept in detention in Asuncion.
Ronaldinho’s laywer Sergio Queiroz has described the incident as “illicit, illegal and unlawful,” as the player himself stated that he had no idea about the passports being fake.
“Ronaldinho did not commit a crime because he did not know that the passport they gave him was faked,” Queiroz was recently quoted by Paraguay media.
The lawyer, who is pushing for a temporary bail for Ronaldinho and his brother from their current pre-trial detention, also added that the brothers were invited to Paraguay for brand promotion.
Sérgio Fernando Moro, the Minister of Justice and Public Security of the Government of Brazil had contacted the Paraguayan justice ministry, sources have claimed.
Meanwhile, the foundation named ‘Angelic Fraternity’, which invited Ronaldinho for the event, has been revoked of their legal status by an official decree from the Paraguayan president Mario Abdo on Monday.
The foundation’s administrator, Dalia Lopez had clarified that the incident was out of her knowledge, as Lopez wasn’t directly involved for inviting or sponsoring Ronaldinho for the promotional event, and that she ‘never suspected’ the intermediates that were dealing with the brothers’ passports. Her lawyers have also stated that Ronaldinho paid the intermediates $5,000 to ‘accelerate the process to issue the passports.’
However, a businessman named Wilmondes Sousa Lira, who was arrested for allegedly giving the fake passports to Ronaldinho and his brother, has charged Lopez for being the primary responsible behind the forgery.