Pele’s son arrested in money laundering case

Pele's son, Edson Cholbi do Nascimento, centre.(Randy Ribas/Tribubna de Santos)

SAO PAULO, Brazil — The 44-year-old son of soccer legend Pele was arrested in Brazil on Tuesday after losing an appeal in a money laundering case involving a drug gang.

Edson Cholbi do Nascimento, known as Edinho, had been convicted earlier this year and sentenced to 33 years in prison for laundering money for the gang. The former goalkeeper had been allowed to remain free during the process, but a local judge said his appeal was rejected.

Edinho can appeal again to a higher court, but judge Suzana Pereira said in her ruling that this time he must remain in jail.

Edinho’s lawyers told Brazilian media that they were surprised with the ruling and will request Edinho’s immediate release.

Pele’s press office said the former player will not immediately comment on his son’s arrest. The 74-year-old Pele, a World Cup champion with Brazil in 1958, ’62 and ’70, successfully underwent surgery to remove kidney stones last week. He was discharged from hospital on Saturday.

Edinho was taken into custody during a mandatory monthly visit to a court in the coastal city of Santos. He had spent about a week in prison in July before being allowed to appeal in freedom. He also spent six months in a maximum-security prison in 2005 after being arrested with 50 others in a sweep aimed at a gang in Santos. Prosecutors said he was associated with the criminal group.

Edinho previously denied the charges against him, although he publicly said he had used drugs out of curiosity after he quit professional soccer.

In the early 1990s, Edinho was charged with taking part in a high-speed race in which the other car hit and killed a motorcyclist. He was sentenced for manslaughter years later before being acquitted in 2005.

Edinho played in the early 1990s with Santos, the same team where Pele played during most of his career. He had been working as an assistant coach with the eight-time Brazilian champion.

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