Brazilian football great Ronaldinho will remain in pre-trial detention in Paraguay after being refused bail or house arrest on accusations of entering the country with a fake passport.
A court rejected a request for conditional release for the 39-year-old World Cup winner and his brother, who were spending a fifth day in a police cell in Asuncion, said prosecutor Osmar Legal.
Judge Gustavo Amarilla cited the seriousness of the case and the discovery of new evidence, as well as the involvement of public officials and entrepreneurs who facilitated Ronaldinho’s arrival in Paraguay.
The brothers will remain in a maximum-security prison on the outskirts of Asuncion for as long as six months, or until the investigation is complete, judge Gustavo Amarilla said.
“Ronaldinho’s freedom could lead to an obstruction [of justice] or an escape,” Amarilla told reporters. “His presence in the country is necessary.”
The brothers offered to post an $800,000 bail bond by putting up a local businessman’s property as collateral in exchange for being moved from a maximum-security jail to house arrest. But prosecutor Marcelo Pecchi argued that they were a flight risk.
The judge found the bail bond value to be relatively low, considering the fact that Ronaldinho earned around $130 million during his career.
“The investigation is only beginning, we are looking into other conducts that may be related,” Pecchi told reporters.
“If these people leave right now they will not be able to be brought to face trial because Brazil does not extradite its own citizens.”
On Tuesday, Authorities in Paraguay also announced the arrest of three government officials connected to the scandal.
Shirley Elizabeth Delvalle 31, and Rosa Carolina Miranda, 40, both employed by Paraguay’s National Directorate of Civil Aeronautics, and José Gustavo Molina, 47, a clerk with the General Directorate of Migrations, were arrested on Tuesday morning.
The Law enforcement agents are also looking for another immigration official, Jorge Rodrigo Villanueva Torales, 35. who is also connected to the scandal
Authorities have charged María Isabel Gayoso and Esperanza Apolonia Caballero, for reportedly providing their passports to be altered.