Ronaldinho granted house arrest in Paraguay amid fake passport flap


After just more than a month in a maximum-security prison, Ronaldinho was released and placed into house arrest by Paraguayan authorities on Tuesday.

The Brazilian astro was twice denied bail and pleaded to be transferred into house arrest despite reportedly offering $1.6m for his and his brother's release.

Both Ronaldinho and Roberto de Assis Moreira were taken into custody by Paraguayan police from their presidential suite in a golf club in Paraguay's capital on 6 March, having allegedly entered the country with fake Paraguayan passports and IDs despite never having begun a process to obtain Paraguay citizenship. Brazilians do not need passports to enter their bordering neighbor to the south west.

Their lawyer maintains that his clients did not know the documents were falsified, as they were given to him by a local sponsor. The two had landed two days earlier to promote Gaucho's new book, Genius in Life, and a health initiative for underprivileged children in the country. The documents allegedly use the same headshots used to promote the book tour.

Leaving from Agrupación Especializada, a prison for high-profile criminals which "looks more like a hotel", according to Paraguay's home secretary, the De Assis brothers will carry out the rest of their sentence at the Palmaroga Hotel, a luxury hotel back in the city's center. A room there costs on average $80 to $90 per night, while Ronaldinho's suite costs $380.

The Brazilian's case is just one of multiple arrests in a national political money laundering scandal that saw the resignation of Paraguay's top immigration authority and includes Dalia López Troche, his sponsor in the country, at the center.

As the world of sports news died down due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the media scrutinized every detail of Ronaldinho's bizarre arrival behind bars. According to the warden, he spent time talking to his mother, drinking mate and coffee and taking up carpentry.

Quickly rumors spread of wether the World Cup and Ballon d'or winner put his famous left foot to use in custody.

After much speculation, in an intramural league against other inmates, he did. In his first match, it was reported he scored five and assisted six goals. His squad, Negro Cumbiero, won the championship and the purse that came with it, a 16kg pork for barbecuing.

ESPN reported that inmates held a barbecue to celebrate the Barcelona star's last night in the jail where he turned 40 years old.


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