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Ronaldinho fails to testify in crypto scam probe, faces possible arrest in Brazil

Brazilian soccer star Ronaldinho Gaúcho could be detained by authorities to testify over a crypto fraud investigation in Brazil. According to local media reports, Ronaldinho failed to appear before the country’s Congress over a pyramid scheme probe allegedly linked to one of his companies.

The former Paris Saint-Germain, F.C Barcelona and AC Milan star failed to testify at a congressional hearing on Aug. 24, citing adverse weather conditions, and ignoring a subpoena for the second time. According to congressman Aureo Ribeiro, he will have another opportunity to testify on Aug. 31. In the event that Ronaldinho fails to appear, law enforcement officials may take him before the committee.

Witnesses subpoenaed to appear before Congress have a duty to do so, as per Brazil’s law. Witnesses who fail to comply with a subpoena may be fined and taken forcibly before Congress by the police.

The investigation revolves around Ronaldinho’s venture, ’18kRonaldinho’. The company allegedly promised clients daily returns over 2% through crypto investments. A lawsuit seeking more than $61 million in damages was filed against the company for failing to return such profits. The litigation is now part of a broader investigation into crypto frauds in the country.

Ronaldinho’s legal team argues that he was merely the company’s ‘ambassador’, thus another victim of the alleged scam. According to them, his image and name were illegally used to deceive potential clients without the proper authorization. Ronaldinho’s crypto business also includes a nonfungible token (NFT) collection, launched in collaboration with INFLUXO in 2021.

In 2020, Ronaldinho and his brother Roberto de Assis were arrested in Paraguay for entering the country with fake passports, spending over 170 days behind bars. Assis is also involved in the ongoing crypto investigation.

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