Brazilian soccer star Ronaldinho is facing the risk of arrest in his home country after failing to appear before a court to testify about his alleged involvement in a cryptocurrency scam. The former Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain player was summoned by the Federal Court of Rio de Janeiro to explain his role as an ambassador for 18kRonaldinho, a company that is accused of defrauding more than 150 investors out of over $30 million.
According to local media reports , Ronaldinho did not show up for the hearing that was scheduled for September 22, claiming that he was in Florida, USA, for a personal trip. However, the court did not accept his excuse and ordered him to return to Brazil within 10 days or face an arrest warrant. The court also warned him that he could lose his passport and other assets if he does not cooperate with the investigation.
18kRonaldinho is a company that was founded by Marcelo Lara Marcelino, a businessman who is also known as Marcelo Lara. The company claimed to offer various products and services related to soccer, such as digital soccer stadiums, soccer schools, and soccer-themed jewelry. The company also claimed to offer a cryptocurrency investment scheme that promised returns of up to 2% per day. The company used Ronaldinho’s image and name to attract investors and customers, who were required to pay a membership fee of $30 and buy packages ranging from $300 to $3,000.
However, in October 2019, the company stopped paying its investors and customers, and announced that it was undergoing a restructuring process. The company also changed its name to 18kWorld and removed Ronaldinho’s image and name from its website and social media accounts. Many investors and customers filed complaints against the company and its founder, accusing them of fraud, embezzlement, money laundering, and tax evasion.
Ronaldinho has denied any wrongdoing and claimed that he was only hired as an ambassador for the company and had no knowledge of its operations or finances. He also claimed that he terminated his contract with the company as soon as he learned of the irregularities. However, the court wants to hear his testimony and verify his claims.
Ronaldinho is not the only soccer star who has been linked to cryptocurrency scams. In 2018, former Real Madrid and Brazil player Roberto Carlos was sued by a group of investors who claimed that he endorsed a fraudulent cryptocurrency project called SportyCo. In 2019, former Manchester United and France player Patrice Evra was accused of promoting a scam called Lyfcoin on his Instagram account. In 2020, former Liverpool and England player Michael Owen was involved in a controversy over his endorsement of a cryptocurrency called GCOX.
The cases of Ronaldinho and other soccer stars show that celebrities should be careful about what they promote and endorse, especially when it comes to cryptocurrency projects that may not be regulated or transparent. Investors and customers should also be cautious about what they invest in and buy, and do their own research before trusting anyone with their money.