Ronaldinho to plea bargain release in Paraguay after fake passport snafu
Former Brazilian football star Ronaldinho has presented a plea deal along with his lawyers to the Paraguay public prosecutor’s office, one that would lead to his release and his brother’s after the two were arrested for trying to enter Paraguay with fake passports.
According to ESPN’s Antonio Strini, the case against Ronaldinho and his brother, Roberto Assis, is “90% closed.”
The two brothers were released from a high-security jail in Paraguay 32 days after their initial arrest in March. Following a hefty $800,000 bail payment each, Ronaldinho and Roberto were placed under house arrest in a luxury hotel in Asuncion, where they’ve remained for the past four months.
The plea bargain consists of an admission of guilt from both brothers for entering Paraguay with fake passports and fines of $20,000 and $50,000, respectively, for Ronaldinho and Roberto, according to ESPN. Roberto would have a criminal record in Paraguay while Ronaldinho’s would remain clean.
The plea deal would return the brothers to Rio de Janeiro, where they’re expected to follow rules of conduct set by the Paraguay courts. Ronaldinho’s legal team agreed that both would comply, even if it would delay the Brazil star’s planned flight to Barcelona.
The prosecution has six months to investigate the case and has since ordered the arrest of 18 others in connection with the false passports.
Ronaldinho had his Brazilian passport seized at home last year due to an ongoing investigation into alleged environmental crimes. The passport was returned to him in September of 2019 and many still wonder why he did not use it during his trip to Paraguay.