Barcelona legend Ronaldinho arrested on fraud charges

Barcelona legend Ronaldinho arrested on fraud charges

Brazillian football legend Ronaldinho and his brother Roberto de Assis were on Wednesday arrested in Paraguayan capital Asuncion for allegedly entering the country with false passports.

The 39-year-old Ronaldinho and Assis, 49, were detained by police after a raid on their presidential suite in the posh Resort Yacht and Golf, 15 km south of Asuncion. 

"Mr Ronaldinho has a false passport. That is a crime and that's why his arrest has been ordered," Paraguay's interior minister Euclides Acevedo told local radio station AM 1080. "I respect his sports popularity but the law needs to be respected no matter who you are."

Acevedo said that more information will be shared later on Thursday after more investigations have been done. 

Paraguayan media reported that the pair was detained at the resort under police watch after their arrest. Assis is the former Barcelona star agent.

The brothers were in Paraguay to participate in a children's charity campaign and to publicize a new book about Ronaldinho's career.

It is not the first passport controversy to engulf Ronaldinho and Assis. In November 2018, they had their travel documents seized by Brazilian authorities after failing to pay a fine resulting from a 2015 court case.

The pair recovered the passports last September - effectively ending a 10-month foreign travel ban - upon accepting a million-dollar fine for building a fishing platform without environmental permits.

Ronaldinho retired from football in 2018 after a career that included a World Cup triumph in 2002 and two FIFA World Player of the Year awards.