Brazilian football legend Ronaldinho Gaúcho is caught in the midst of a crypto fraud investigation that could lead to his potential arrest. Reports from local media indicate that Ronaldinho missed a congressional hearing related to a pyramid scheme inquiry linked to one of his companies, putting him in hot water.
The renowned athlete, known for his stints with Paris Saint-Germain, F.C Barcelona, and AC Milan, failed to show up for the congressional hearing on August 24. He attributed his absence to adverse weather conditions and ignored a subpoena for the second time. Congressman Aureo Ribeiro stated that Ronaldinho will be given another chance to testify on August 31. Failure to comply might result in law enforcement taking him forcibly before the committee.
In Brazil, witnesses who are summoned before Congress are legally obligated to appear. Those who disregard subpoenas can face fines and be compelled to attend by the police.
The investigation focuses on Ronaldinho's involvement with '18kRonaldinho', a company that purportedly offered clients daily returns exceeding 2% through crypto investments. Legal action seeking more than $61 million in damages has been taken against the company for not delivering on these promised profits. This case has become a part of a larger investigation into crypto-related fraud within the nation.
Ronaldinho's defense argues that he was merely an 'ambassador' for the company, making him another victim of the alleged scam. According to his legal team, his name and image were exploited without proper authorization to deceive potential clients. Notably, Ronaldinho's crypto ventures also encompass a nonfungible token (NFT) collection, which was launched in collaboration with INFLUXO in 2021.
This isn't the first legal entanglement for Ronaldinho. In 2020, he and his brother Roberto de Assis were arrested in Paraguay for using fake passports to enter the country. They spent over 170 days in custody. Remarkably, Assis is also implicated in the ongoing crypto fraud investigation.
The unfolding drama around Ronaldinho's involvement in a crypto fraud probe has thrust him back into the spotlight, but this time, it's not for his football skills. As he faces potential arrest and legal consequences, the football icon's reputation hangs in the balance. The case highlights the risks associated with celebrity endorsements in the crypto space and underscores the need for caution and due diligence in such ventures.