Ronaldinho Set for Release from House Arrest in Fake Passport Case

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 24, 2020

Former Brazilian soccer star Ronaldinho, seen through a pane of glass, waves during a court date at the Justice Palace in Asuncion, Paraguay, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. Ronaldinho and his brother Roberto Assis have been detained since early March for allegedly entering the South American country with fake passports. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)
Jorge Saenz/Associated Press

A Paraguayan court released 2005 Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldinho from his sentence of house arrest in a case stemming from allegations he had entered the country using a false passport and identification. 

According to ESPN, Ronaldinho and his brother, Roberto de Assis, agreed to plea deals. They both pleaded guilty to using a fake passport upon their entrance to Paraguay. Ronaldinho will also pay a $90,000 fine, while Roberto was levied with a $110,000 fine.

Antonio Strini and Moises Llorens of ESPN reported on Aug. 6 that Ronaldinho's lawyers had presented a deal to prosecutors.

The investigation first began in March, when Paraguayan police searched Ronaldinho's suite at a local resort and found the documents in question, per CNN. Public prosecutor Federico Delfino explained in a Facebook post the passports were authentic but that the information in them had been falsified.

Fiscalía Paraguay @MinPublicoPy

Caso Ronaldinho: Fue allanada la suite donde está hospedado Ronaldinho. Se encontraron, documentos varios, C.I. y pasaportes paraguayos con los nombres de Ronaldinho y su hermano. Investigación en curso. https://t.co/jGO4ZoHNWn

The Guardian's Francisco Navas noted Ronaldinho and his brother spent 32 days in a maximum security jail before a judge ruled they could be transferred to house arrest.

"They were given their own $380-a-night suites in an otherwise empty hotel, and spent the last four months under house arrest, supposedly in quarantine," Navas wrote.

"South American outlets reported that Ronaldinho often welcomed guests into his room. Hotel staff have also claimed the former Brazil star spent nights dancing and singing karaoke."

Ronaldinho's criminal record in Paraguay will be expunged, and he'll have the freedom to leave his native Brazil whenever he chooses. Roberto, on the other hand, is prohibited from leaving Brazil for two years as part of the plea deal.