The legendary footballer is again in legal trouble due to a family member handling his finances and promotions.


On September 5th and 7th, two friendly matches took place in Israel, featuring Barcelona legends. First, the team led by Ronaldinho and Rivaldo defeated Maccabi Tel Aviv veterans 5-3, and then they convincingly beat another Maccabi team from Haifa with a score of 5-1. In the first game, Ronaldinho shone, even with a visibly growing belly, delivering a brilliant assist to Saviola. In the second game, he scored from a penalty.

In both matches, the Brazilian had his trademark smile. Still, just a few days before traveling to Israel, he was in a completely different mood when he testified in the Senate of the Brazilian capital. The Brasília Prosecutor's Office accused the holder of the 2005 Ballon d'Or of being involved in organizing a financial pyramid scheme, which could lead to a prison sentence of three to five years under local laws. In 2020, Ronaldinho spent several months in a Paraguayan prison for passport forgery and didn't want to go back behind bars. So, why is his name once again linked to financial shenanigans?

The cryptocurrency company 18K Ronaldinho promised clients monthly returns of up to 400%

Ronaldinho was summoned to the Senate in mid-August, but at that time, he claimed that his flight from Rio to Brasília was canceled due to bad weather. Two weeks later, the former footballer missed another session as he was in Kyrgyzstan for the opening of a branch of the Barcelona Academy. Federal police officers who came to Ronaldinho's house to confiscate his passport were unaware of Ronnie's business trip, so they left a court summons at his door, demanding the surrender of the document.

Realizing that there was no way to avoid the situation, on August 31st, the World Cup champion finally arrived at the Senate to give his testimony. He was accompanied by his brother Roberto and a lawyer. When Ronaldinho was given the floor, he appeared very nervous. He answered questions solely by reading from a pre-written text on paper. The football genius had difficulty reading - he traced his finger along the lines and pronounced the words syllable by syllable. It further strengthens the famous story about his time in Mexico when Ronaldinho admitted to a Queretaro employee that he didn't know how to use an ATM at 35!

Ronaldinho is accused of being involved in a cryptocurrency investment fraud through 18K Ronaldinho. This organization engaged in cryptocurrency trading and arbitrage, promising its clients returns of up to 400% per month. Such figures clearly indicate a financial pyramid, as officially recognized by the Ministry of Justice.

Besides the returns on the invested amount, 18K Ronaldinho also promised bonuses for attracting new clients, with a minimum deposit of $30. "Ronaldinho's high authority and popularity prompted thousands of people to invest in fraudulent schemes, resulting in losses," the prosecutor stated.

This is not the only accusation against Ronaldinho. The prosecutor also alleges that the footballer assisted in promoting the international broker LBLV as an ambassador. Registered in Seychelles (a clear sign of a dubious scheme), the broker boasted a database of more than 100,000 clients, assigning a personal consultant to each new investor and luring them in entirely. Retrieving even the deposit proved impossible. This scam has been prohibited in Brazil since 2019, but that did not stop Ronaldinho from actively promoting the broker.

Ronaldinho claims he is being framed and has taken one of the companies to court

In his testimony to the parliamentarians, Ronaldinho denied involvement with 18K Ronaldinho. "In 2016, I signed a contract with the North American company 18K Watches Corporation for the temporary use of my image rights to create a line of watches sold in several countries under 18K Ronaldinho," he defended himself. "The commercial agreement included a license to use my image, name, signature, nickname, and voice. However, I didn't know that another company, 18K Ronaldinho Comércio, was created based on this, which was engaged in promoting an illegal cryptocurrency platform."

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The footballer insists that his image rights were illegally exploited, and he is also a victim in the context of the crime. Ronaldinho assured parliamentarians that he terminated the contract with 18K Ronaldinho in October 2019, as soon as his brother Roberto warned him of the alleged improper use of his image rights. The former Barcelona midfielder guaranteed that the actions stipulated in the contract were not fulfilled, so he did not file any lawsuits against the owners of 18K Ronaldinho.

"They used the sale of watches as a beautiful facade while engaging in fraudulent activities. Other famous personalities and even Flamengo were caught in a similar situation," Ronaldinho's brother noted.

Ronaldinho also responded to accusations of collaborating with the brokerage firm. "I never directly negotiated with LBLV. Several years ago, I signed a contract with the Israeli social media management company Tailor Media, which promoted my image online. Tailor Media considered it appropriate to use my image in LBLV advertising without my permission," emphasized the footballer. In 2021, he filed a lawsuit against Tailor Media.

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The prosecutor, Senate Deputy Ricardo Silva, refuted Ronaldinho's version and claimed to have compelling evidence that the footballer did not cease illegal activities even after breaking the law. In response to these accusations, Ronaldinho's lawyer recommended that Ronnie remain silent "due to his lack of knowledge about certain situations."

Published by Patrick Jane