Former Brazilian football star Ronaldinho, 43, on Thursday denied being linked to a suspected cryptocurrency scam company that used his image in advertisements.
The Ballon d’Or appeared before a parliamentary commission of inquiry which summoned him as a witness, presenting him as the founder and partner of the “18K Ronaldinho” company.
This company promised astronomical returns on investment, up to 400% over one year, but several hundred customers have filed complaints for fraud, claiming compensation totaling more than 300 million reais (about 56 million euros).
“Contrary to what was said by this commission of inquiry, I am not a founder or partner of the 18K Ronaldinho company”, assured the former player of PSG and FC Barcelona at the start of his testimony, which lasted about two hours. Ronaldinho claimed that in 2016 he signed a contract with the American watch brand 18K Watches, to which he sold his image for an advertising campaign.
But according to him, images shot during this campaign were used without his consent by the cryptocurrency investment company. “They used my name improperly,” assured the 2022 world champion, who testified dressed in black, wearing a beret and wearing sunglasses. He refrained from answering most of the questions from the deputies, thanks to a court decision which authorized him to remain silent if he risked being incriminated.
Ronaldinho appeared before the parliamentary committee after missing two previous summonses. The deputies threatened to ask the police to arrest him to bring him by force if he did not come to testify this Thursday.
In 2020, he had been detained for more than five months in Paraguay for a case of falsified passports.
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