Ronaldinho locked up in Paraguay

Ronaldinho and his brother are in trouble in Paraguay (pic: Noberto Duarte, AFP)

A sorry state of affairs for the former World player of the Year.

Ronaldinho and his brother have been arrested for identity fraud and are currently in a Paraguayan jail. The pair visited Paraguay on Wednesday for a series of promotional events, but it turns out that both travelled to the country using falsified documents. An alarm was raised, and the pair were subsequently questioned, arrested and have yet to be released.

It has now been revealed that both Ronaldinho and his brother, Roberto de Assis, travelled to Paraguay using fake Paraguayan passports, which they had been given by a Brazilian businessman. The documents have the names and photos of Ronaldinho and Assis, but both passports, it turns out, belong to women. The businessman that gave them the documents has been jailed, and the women in question have been brought in for questioning in handcuffs.

The whole situation is extremely strange and raises a number of questions and about the actions and motives of the brothers. Why travel to Paraguay using a false passport? It is even stranger to consider when all you need is an ID card, since Brazilian citizens don’t need a passport to travel to Paraguay as both countries are in the Mercosur trading bloc. Also, why does a Brazilian legend like Ronaldinho want a Paraguayan passport and why wasn’t he using his Brazilian documents?

We don’t know the reasons for these yet, but we may find out more in the coming days. Apparently the player has cooperated with police and claimed that he had no idea the document was false and that he was misled. The public prosecutor wasn’t satisfied with that answer though, and has refused to release the pair, who are being kept at a special facility, which houses high profile criminals, with a previous inmate being Pinheiro da Veiga, a notorious Brazilian gangster.

The player will hope to get out soon, but a report on Globoesporte, one of Brazil’s biggest sports websites, suggests that the pair could spend up to six months in prison. Theoretically, they could be locked up for even longer, since the penalty for using public documents is 5 years’ prison time or a fine, according to Paraguayan law.

However long Ronaldinho ends up spending, this is a sorry state of affairs for the Seleção legend and former World Player of the Year. It is also one that has his brother’s fingerprints all over it.

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