Former Brazilian and Barcelona footballer Ronaldinho and his brother, Roberto de Assis, have been released from a Paraguayan prison five months after being jailed for entering the country with fake passports. Also Read - 'It Was a Hard Blow' - Ronaldinho Recalls The Moment When He Was Arrested
“The precautionary measure of arrest is lifted. There are no more restrictions placed by Paraguayan justice,” Judge Gustavo Amarilla told the court. Also Read - Ronaldinho Released From Jail, Placed Under House Arrest
The duo, alongside Brazilian businessman, Wilmondes Sousa Lira, were arrested in March this year. Also Read - Ronaldinho Ordered to Remain in Police Custody in Paraguay After Fake Passport Claims
However, Ronaldinho and his brother Roberto were placed placed in a house arrest at a luxurious hotel after paying bail of USD 8,00,000 each.
“We were totally surprised to learn that the documents were not legal. Since then our intention has been to collaborate with the justice system to clarify the facts,” Ronaldinho was quoted as saying by goal.com.
“From that moment until today, we have explained everything and facilitated everything that has been requested of us. It was a hard blow, I never imagined that I would go through such a situation. All my life I have sought to reach the highest professional level and bring joy to people with my football.”
Ronaldinho, a world cup winner, had told local authorities the passports were gift from Wilmondes and may have been imprisoned for up to five years had he been found guilty.
He will leave Paraguay on Tuesday and as per the terms, will pay fine of USD 90,000 and his brother USD 110,000 for entering the country using fake passports.
Roberto though will have a criminal record in the country but Ronaldinho’s record will be clean.
Additionally, the legendary footballer can leave Brazil any time he wants but has to inform the authorities in Paraguay regarding the duration he’ll be away. His brother, though, cannot leave Brazil for two years and needs to present himself to a federal judge in his country every four months till the ban gets lifted.
The brothers claimed innocence throughout the trial and their lawyer had termed the arrest “arbitrary, abusive and illegal”, according to news agency Reuters.
Ronaldinho is a celebrated footballer who won the 2002 world cup with Brazil and 2006 Champions League with Barcelona. He was won the prestigious Ballon d’Or in 2005 and was twice named FIFA World Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005.
During his professional career, the Brazilian played for some of the top clubs including Barcelona, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain.