Former Brazilian soccer star Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, popularly known as Ronaldinho Gaucho, appeared for a congressional hearing. The player denied the charges against him alleging his involvement in a crypto pyramid scheme. The lawsuit seeks approximately $61 Million in damages.
Ronaldinho attended the parliamentary hearing at Brazil’s lower house Chamber of Deputies on August 31, 2023. He stated in front of the lawmakers that he did not have any connection with the alleged crypto pyramid scheme.
The namesake company dubbed ‘18k Ronaldinho Comércio e Participações Ltda’ had used his name. However, the connection between the company that the player agreed to and the one that boasts a daily return of 2% is a bit complicated.
According to Ronaldinho, he came into an agreement with a U.S. watch company named 18k Watch Corporation. As per the deal finalized in 2019, the company would have launched a series of watches bearing popular soccer players’ images. However, the deal did not pull off and got canceled in the upcoming months of the same year.
While denying the connection with the purported crypto scheme, he claimed that he has never partnered with the company. The company used his name and his image without consent. He considered himself as yet another victim of the scheme.
“They misused my name to create this company’s corporate name,” he said.
Lawsuit Demands $61 Million From Ronaldinho
Reuters reported that the lawsuit came into existence when the Consumer Relations Institute of Brazil filed a class action lawsuit against Ronaldinho in 2020. The company lured investors by promising clients a 2% daily return, a whopping 400% return within a year. However, the clients ended up losing the hard-earned money at the end.
The lawsuit demanded 300 Million reais, equivalent to nearly $60.66 Million in damages that caused the users of 18kRonaldinho.
The former soccer player had missed two hearings previously. The recent one was scheduled on August 24 which he said to have missed due to weather conditions. The recent hearing was the last chance for him to appear or else he would be subjected to a potential detainment by the authorities.
Ronaldinho became famous as a soccer star after being named FIFA World Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005. He also won the 2002 World Cup with Brazil and the 2006 Champions League while playing with Barcelona.
The ongoing actions against the football player are part of an inquiry commenced by the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Brazil’s bicameral National Congress. Other than the company involving Ronaldinho’s name, the lawmakers’ committee is investigating ten such false returns promising crypto companies. This started allegations brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Brazil.