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Ronaldinho granted bail, released six months after arrest in Paraguay with brother

A judge suspended charges against Ronaldinho and his brother Roberto Assis on Monday after they struck a plea bargain with prosecutors.

SNS | New Delhi |

Brazilian football legend Ronaldinho has been released from house arrest after nearly six months when he and his brother were taken to custody in Paraguay for trying to enter the country using a fake passport.

A judge suspended charges against the 40-year-old and his brother Roberto Assis on Monday after they struck a plea bargain with prosecutors.

“The precautionary measure of arrest is lifted, there are no more restrictions placed by Paraguayan justice,” Judge Gustavo Amarilla told a court hearing in Asuncion as quoted by IANS.

Media reports said the brothers would fly back to Rio de Janeiro on a private plane on Tuesday.

Under the terms of the plea bargain as laid in the sentence, Ronaldinho paid $90,000 fine and must report to a federal judge in Brazil every three months for two years. The footballer has reportedly agreed to the terms.

His brother Asis was directed to pay $110,000 and will not be allowed to leave Brazil over a two-year period.

“There is no indication that he has any personal characteristics or criminal behavior that … would put society at risk,” one of the prosecutors in the case said.

Ronaldinho and Assis have been detained since early March for allegedly entering the South American country with fake passports.

Ronaldinho was earlier sentenced to a six-month term in prison. However, after 32 days in prison, he was shifted to a hotel in April where he was kept under house arrest.

The decision was taken due to the global outbreak of the coronavirus which has affected more than 100 people in Paraguay and killed five.

The 40-year-old former Ballon d’Or winner is believed to have paid a 1.3 million Euro bond following his arrest with his brother Roberto Assis, 49, after police raided their presidential suite at the Resort Yacht and Golf Club, around 15km south of Asuncion.

However, Ronaldinho’s lawyer had maintained the footballer was not deliberately trying to enter Paraguay with a fake passport and demanded he should be released by the authorities.

Ronaldinho, on his part, said the passports had been given him by people who had invited him to attend conferences sponsored by charities working with disadvantaged children. According to him, his documents were given by Brazilian businessman, Wilmondes Sousa Liria, who has been jailed.

Ronaldinho and Assis travelled to Paraguay on March 4 to participate in a children’s charity event and promote a new book. The pair were arrested later that day when authorities realised they had entered the country with fake passports.

Ronaldinho retired from football in 2018 after a career that included spells at Gremio, Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, Milan and Atletico Mineiro, among other clubs. He was a part of the Brazil team that won the 2002 World Cup and was twice voted the FIFA world player of the year.