Ronaldinho Smiles For Selfies With Fans After Being Arrested In Paraguay
Former Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho has been spotted smiling for selfies with fans just hours after being arrested in Paraguay.
The 39-year-old appeared in court alongside his brother on Saturday, March 7, with the pair accused of using fake passports to enter the country earlier that week.
The duo were taken into custody on Friday, March 6, after a judge accepted prosecutors’ claims that they posed a serious flight risk if released from custody – but that didn’t stop Ronaldinho from posing happily with his supporters.
In pictures that have since been posted to social media, the football legend can be seen obliging with fans’ requests for photos, smiling as though he doesn’t have a care in the world.
In one photo, Ronaldinho stands next to a police officer who has his arm around him and is doing a ‘thumbs-up’ gesture – in stark contrast to the sullen faces of the officers who led him away in handcuffs.
In another, he can be seen smiling with employees from the Attorney General’s Office, all of whom match his happy expression.
Ronaldinho – real name Ronaldo de Assis Moreira – and his brother, Roberto Assis, are due to appear in front of the judge again later today, March 9, with their lawyers expected to ask for their release back to Brazil.
So far, the brothers have spent three nights behind bars in the Paraguayan capital, Asunción, although they have reportedly been kept in a police holding cell rather than being transferred to jail because of Ronaldinho’s celebrity status.
Prosecutors are seeking to extend the detention of the pair, while lawyer Adolfo Marin has criticised the decision to keep the 2002 World Cup winner behind bars.
Marin defended Ronaldinho in an interview with Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo, saying:
The courts have not taken into account the fact that Ronaldinho didn’t know he was committing a crime, because he didn’t understand he had been given false documents. He is stupid.
Ronaldinho’s passport was seized in November 2018 because of the extent of unpaid debts, which were a result of a lawsuit over his alleged environmental crimes.
The former footballer and his brother had been fined because of the illegal construction they had allegedly carried out in a protected area, with authorities saying they didn’t have the necessary license to do so.
With unpaid damages of $2.1 million, the pair’s passports were seized to prevent them from travelling. However, Ronaldinho reached a deal with prosecutors in September last year, which saw him get their passports back.
It’s not immediately clear why the pair didn’t use their official documents last week during their trip to Paraguay, although Ronaldinho is claiming they were tricked and were given the fake passports as a gift.
Ronaldinho and his brother face up to six months in prison if found guilty.
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