Former Barcelona star Ronaldinho is now being investigated for possible money laundering by Paraguayan law authorities, report Marca via Reuters.
It is said that investigators will begin reviewing files and messages on the phones of the former Brazil international and his brother Roberto de Assis, who is also his business manager.
The two are still in Paraguay for having entered the country with forged passports and their appeal for release ahead of trial has been rejected, while the investigation is now said to be entering a new stage.
Prosecutor Osmar Legal, who is leading the case, has explained that he is investigating links between the brothers and businesswoman Dalia Lopez, who arranged their trip to Paraguay and who met them on arrival at the airport in the capital of Asuncion before they were detained.
“She could be involved in a money laundering scheme and that means we have to investigate all the other people that were related to that kind of crime, including Ronaldinho,” Legal is cited as saying by Reuters. “That is why we strictly maintain that he be kept in jail.”
“Our principal hypothesis is that they produced false documents, that they used those documents (to enter Paraguay) and that they were eventually going to be used for some commercial means or investments that were not legal.”
As reported by Marca, the former football superstar was arrested earlier this month in the country when he and his brother attempted to enter using falsified Paraguayan passports.
The fake passport shows the former star’s correct name, birthplace, and birthdate, but it falsely prints that he is a naturalised citizen of Paraguay.
A court decision on Saturday then kept the two Brazilians in preventive detention while an investigation into the incident was ongoing ahead of a trial.
His trip to the South American nation was allegedly to promote the charity “La Fundación Angelical,” which provides medical assistance to low-income children, while he was was also going to present his book Genio de la vida (Genius of life).
Last summer, as Diario AS outlined, the former forward had 57 properties seized and owes more than €2m to the Brazilian state over unpaid taxes and fines, while his Brazilian and Spanish passports were confiscated.
Local media outlet Folha de Sao Paulo is cited as describing how Ronaldinho was fined was fined €2.2m for illegally building a pier at his lake house in the city of Porto Alegre.
However, alongside this environmental fine there is a further €1.8m fine in other debts, such as council taxes, which are being pursued by creditors.
The report adds that the former footballer’s debts are accumulating and there is also a new added demand that is being processed by the Office of the National Attorney General of Brazil for €184k.