Brazilian soccer legend Ronaldinho detained in Paraguay over false passport claims

Brazilian soccer legend Ronaldinho was cited by officials in Paraguay over allegedly having altered passports. Ronaldinho was in the country to attend a charity event on Wednesday when officials found the illegal passports in his hotel near Asuncion, according to ESPN Brasil.

Ronaldinho and his brother, Roberto Assis, claimed that the passports were given to them as “a gift” at the Asuncion airport by organizers that were involved with the charity event. However, Federico Delfino of the prosecutors office revealed that they did leave Brazil with legal documents, but entered Paraguay with fake passports.

“We checked the documents and it stood out,” Delfino said. “In order to obtain Paraguay nationality, you have to live for some time in the country. The passport numbers belong to other people, there are original documents, but with fake information. These passports had been withdrawn this January.

“They [Ronaldinho and his brother] have not begun any process to obtain Paraguay nationality. They claim it was a gift of the people that brought them to the country. As we understand, they entered Paraguay migration with this document but they left Brazil with Brazilian documents.”

Ronaldinho, who is serving as one of Brazil’s new ambassador of tourism, has dealt with issues concerning his passport in the past. Back in 2015, he had his Brazil passport confiscated by the country’s authorities after he was convicted of an illegal construction scheme in Porto Alegre. Ronaldinho was forced to pay a $2 million fine in order to regain his passport, which he did in September 2019.

Ronaldinho and his brother will be forced to stay in Paraguay until the current situation is resolved. The duo will be allowed to remain at a local hotel in Asuncion, but will be under custody of the authorities.

“[Ronaldinho and his brother] are not being detained, they are still under judicial investigation and they have to testify. Then it will be decided whether they will be arrested or not,” Paraguay’s interior minister Euclides Acevedo told ESPN Brasil.

Ronaldinho continues to claim that they were “tricked” into accepting the fake passports.

The Brazilian soccer star had a remarkable career before announcing his retirement in 2018. He had 167 goals during his professional career while adding 33 playing for the Brazilian national team. Ronaldinho helped Brazil win the World Cup back in 2002.

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