Former Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho has been released from five months’ house arrest in Paraguay.
Retired Brazilian football star Ronaldinho was released from house arrest Monday (Tuesday NZ time) after spending five months detained in Paraguay for entering the country with a false passport.
Paraguayan judge Gustavo Amarilla handed down a suspended sentence of two years in prison for Ronaldinho and his brother, Roberto de Assis Moreira, and granted their release. The brothers will also have to pay a fine of $200,000 (NZ$306,000) between the two of them.
Both were arrested in March for possession and use of false Paraguayan passports with which they entered the country to conduct business activities.
Ronaldinho was earlier released from a high-security jail in Paraguay but ordered to serve house arrest at a luxury hotel while he was investigated.
* Brazilian football legend Ronaldinho to leave jail for luxury hotel house arrest
* Ronaldinho to remain behind bars in Paraguay over fake passport claim
* Brazilian soccer star Ronaldinho won’t be charged for using fake passport in Paraguay
He will be able to return to Brazil immediately. Defence attorneys Tarek Tuma and Alcides Cáceres said their clients will establish residence in Rio de Janeiro.
Ronaldinho, a world champion with Brazil in 2002 and a former star of Barcelona, Milan and Paris Saint-Germain, among other clubs, turned 40 years old in Paraguay. He came to the country invited by a local foundation, supposedly to present his autobiography, support a school for poor children and inaugurate a casino.
Prosecutor Marcelo Pecci said Ronaldinho and his brother received a shortened legal process because “they admitted having had official Paraguayan legal documents but of false content and because they litigated in good faith”.
The 97-cap international told local authorities the document was a gift from a Brazilian businessman, who was also jailed.
Ronaldinho had his Brazilian passport seized at home due to an investigation into alleged environmental crimes, but the document was returned to him in September last year. One month later he played in a friendly in Israel.
The two-time Fifa World Player of the Year (2004 and 2005) could have spent up to five years in jail.