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8 Aug, 2020 11:27

Prosecutors set to DROP CASE against Brazil icon Ronaldinho as incarcerated footballer 'faces $90,000 fine' over passports

Prosecutors set to DROP CASE against Brazil icon Ronaldinho as incarcerated footballer 'faces $90,000 fine' over passports

Reports in Brazil have claimed that Ronaldinho's high-profile house arrest in a Paraguay hotel could be about to end, with the former World Cup star said to be set to receive a fine and his freedom under new plans by prosecutors.

2002 World Cup winner Ronaldinho has been detained in a hotel in the Paraguayan capital of Asuncion alongside his brother, Roberto Assis, after they initially spent a month in a high-security jail following their arrest on falsified passport charges on March 6.

The pair paid $800,000 bail each to leave the prison and move to a four-star hotel owned by the 40-year-old's former club, Barcelona, where they have been negotiating a plea bargain with authorities.

The Paraguayan Public Prosecutor's Office is now said to have decided not to file any new charges against the brothers, paving the way for their return to Brazil when their pre-trial detention ends in early September.

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Judge Gustavo Amarilla will hear their case next week after the Public Ministry recognized that no money laundering or organized crime had been carried out by the defendants, according to Globo.

Despite emphasizing Ronaldinho's responsibility for his personal items, an 11-page decision document has reportedly concluded that Ronaldinho had not been involved in organizing fake passports as part of a trip to Paraguay to lend his name to promotional events.

The outlet says that Ronaldinho will be put on probation for a year and fined $90,000, while his brother will receive two years and a penalty of $110,000.

Both are said to have been ordered to declare fixed residences in Brazil and appear before authorities every three months, which could scupper their rumored plans to move to Spain once their ordeal has ended.

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Ronaldinho had faced up to five years in jail relating to a false passport which he said was a gift from imprisoned Brazilian businessman Wilmondes Sousa Liria.

Paraguay's migration director resigned in the aftermath of the scandal, involving a payment of $18,000 for passports including nationalization for the brothers.

It is unclear why Ronaldinho did not enter Paraguay with his own passport, claiming he was "totally stunned" to discover that the documents had not been legal when he was interviewed in the early stages of his confinement.

Businesswoman Dalia Lopez is thought to still be on the run, having been accused of arranging the passports after inviting Ronaldinho to Paraguay.

The prosecutor also ordered the arrest of 18 other people as part of the case.

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