Retired Brazilian football star Ronaldinho Gaucho denied involvement in a fraud that has garnered national notoriety for fooling victims with promises of rewarding cryptocurrency investments on Thursday.
At a congressional session, the former Brazil and Barcelona star, whose true name is Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, informed lawmakers that he is not associated with the corporation known as 18k Ronaldinho Comércio e Participaçes Ltda.
“They misused my name to create this company’s corporate name,” he was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the lower house of Brazil’s National Congress.
Ronaldinho stated in the statement that he inked a contract with the American company 18k Watch Corporation in 2016 to manufacture a line of watches with his image.
It is unclear whether the two companies are related.
In 2020, the former player was named as a defendant in a class action lawsuit brought by Brazil’s consumer relations organization, which sought $300 million reais ($60.66 million) in damages for 18K’s customers.
The same year, Ronaldinho and his brother were imprisoned for 171 days in Paraguay for using a forged passport.
In 2004 and 2005, he was voted FIFA World Player of the Year, and he won the World Cup with Brazil in 2002 and the Champions League with Barcelona in 2006.
Ricardo Silva, the congressional inquiry’s rapporteur, asked the former athlete on Thursday if he had sued the firm for unauthorized use of his picture. Ronaldinho stated that his brother handled these matters.