Brazil legend Ronaldinho’s jail struggle continues as one of the key witnesses in fake passport case failed to appear in court. The former midfielder has been lodged in a high profile prison in Paraguay for the past two weeks. The former Barcelona man’s efforts to secure a bail has reaped no result until now.
Ronaldinho was arrested on March 5 by Paraguayan authorities for possessing a fake passport while entering the country. Since then, the former midfielder’s repeated attempts to get rid of the prison term has failed to materialise. According to SPORT magazine, Dalia Lopez, who is thought to a key witness in the case, failed to turn up in court.
Dalia Lopez has contacts with several politicians in Brazil and Paraguay. She is also deemed to be a fugitive. However, investigators are unsure of the extent of Ronaldinho’s involvement in the money laundering scheme. The report also claims that Ronaldinho and his brother could face punishment up to a maximum five-year jail term if proven guilty. According to law, Brazilians do not require a passport to visit the South American country.
Ronaldinho had earlier appealed for a house arrest. However, the Paraguayan judge turned down the plea as he could not ascertain if the investigation could be carried on properly, fearing that the Brazilian might flee the country. The judge cited Brazil’s no-expedition rule as one of the reasons for denying his house arrest plea.
Later, it was also reported that Ronaldinho had offered to pay an astonishing €1.4 million for his house arrest plea. However, this amount was deemed way less than the Brazilian’s financial capacity.
Several reports had also surfaced claiming that his former Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi was willing to help the Brazilian by offering a hefty amount to the Paraguayan authorities. However, the Argentine later denied such reports.