Former Brazil football star Ronaldinho was on Monday set free by a Paraguayan judge after five months in detention over a forged passport.
Judge Gustavo Amarilla also released Ronaldinho’s brother Roberto de Assis Moreira, who also had been held for a month in jail and another four months under house arrest in a hotel in Paraguay’s capital, Asuncion, for the same charge.
According to the judgement, the 40-year-old former World Cup winner is now free to travel to whatever country in the world but must inform the Paraguayan courts if he changes his permanent residence for a period of one year.
Dressed in jeans, a black beret and black shirt, Ronaldinho accepted the terms of his release, which include payment of $90,000 (roughly Sh 10 million) damages.
His brother, who is also Ronaldinho’s business manager, must pay $110,000 (about Sh 11 million)
The pair are also expected to appear before a judge in Brazil every three months — Ronaldinho for a year and his brother for two.
Amarilla accepted a recommendation by four prosecutors to avoid the need for an oral trial.
Prosecutors did not believe Ronaldinho took part in the plan to manufacture the fake Paraguayan passports but believed de Assis Moreira was aware that the passports were false.
How they ended up in jail
The brothers arrived in Paraguay on March 4 without any issues, with Ronaldinho, the 2005 Ballon d’Or winner, due to take part in an event in support of disadvantaged children.
However, two days later, the pair were taken into police custody when investigators raided their hotel following the discovery they had fake documents.
After being held in a police station in Asuncion, where Ronaldinho celebrated his 40th birthday on March 21, the two men had been under house arrest for more than four months in a luxury hotel in the capital, on bail of $1.6 million.
Brazilian retired football player Ronaldinho arrives for his hearing at the Asuncion’s Justice Palace, in Asuncion, on August 24, 2020.
The investigation has since expanded into a case of possible money laundering.
Some 18 people have already been arrested in connection with the case, most of them immigration officials or police officers.