Brazilian football legend Ronaldinho Gaúcho faces the looming possibility of detention as he becomes entangled in a cryptocurrency fraud investigation in his homeland.
Accused of being associated with a pyramid scheme post-retirement, Ronaldinho’s involvement allegedly catalyzed financial losses for scores of investors who were swayed by his iconic status.
Summoned by the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies’ Financial Pyramids Committee, the football star was initially called to testify on August 24. However, adverse weather conditions thwarted his travel plans, prompting the cancellation of flights to Porto Alegre, the hearing’s location.
Ronaldinho’s Current Legal Woes
This hiccup drew the ire of lawmakers who had issued the summons. The committee has extended another opportunity for Ronaldinho to testify, scheduling a new hearing for August 31.
Should he fail to appear again, lawmakers threaten to seek a court-issued warrant that would empower authorities to forcibly bring him to the committee.
Central to the inquiry are Ronaldinho, his brother Assis, and business partner Marcelo Lara, who were expected to provide testimony before the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry. Allegations suggest their venture, 18K Ronaldinho, was at the heart of a cryptocurrency scam bearing the hallmarks of a pyramid scheme.
Promising substantial daily returns of over 2%, the company allegedly enticed investors to commit a minimum of $30 in cryptocurrency. A lawsuit demanding over $61 million in damages has been levied against the firm for failing to deliver on these promises.
Was Ronaldinho A Mere ‘Ambassador?’
Lawmakers are honing in on whether Ronaldinho authorized the company to leverage his name and image in promotional materials.
His legal representatives contend he was a mere “ambassador” and, like many others, fell victim to the purported fraudulent operation. They assert that his image and name were illicitly exploited to dupe potential investors, without proper authorization.
Após ausência, CPI das Criptomoedas aprova condução coercitiva a Ronaldinho Gaúcho. https://t.co/g9OalFlKSl
— Jornal O Globo (@JornalOGlobo) August 22, 2023
Adding to this case, the athlete and his brother faced arrest in Paraguay in 2020 for entering the country with forged passports. This resulted in a more than 170-day stint behind bars. With Assis also implicated in the ongoing cryptocurrency investigation, their collective credibility appears compromised.
While Assis attests that Ronaldinho has been cooperating with investigations into both companies and has already furnished clarifications to the nation’s Public Ministry, legislators remain unconvinced.
Their insistence persists: Ronaldinho must make a personal appearance at a committee hearing to deliver a firsthand statement or make things more difficult for him.
Featured image from Planet Football
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