A Brazilian court sentenced football legend Pele’s son Edinho to 33 years in prison Monday for laundering money for drug traffickers.
Edson Cholbi Nascimento, who goes by Edinho, denied the charges, which date back to 2005. He’ll be allowed to remain free pending appeal.
The Praia Grande criminal court in Sao Paulo gave him an identical sentence to four other members of the alleged gang, including the fugitive cartel boss Ronaldo Duarte Barsotti, known as Naldinho.
Naldinho was accused of controlling a large proportion of the drugs moving through the country’s southeast region, including the supply of cocaine to the favelas (slum areas) of Rio de Janeiro, but has been on the run from police for more than five years.
The court also ordered the confiscation of all property seized in the police operation against them, including about 100 cars.
Edinho admitted buying drugs from the cartel but denied working with them.
According to media accounts, the court heard records of one telephone conversation in which Naldinho and Edinho discussed opening a new business. Edinho apparently said that if the gang boss could provide the money, he would “provide the name,” presumably an allusion to his famous father.
Edinho had a relatively low-key career in the 1990s playing for Santos, the same club where his father achieved his great fame.
He retired at the age of 29 after being convicted of killing a motorcyclist during a street car race, a decision that was later overturned.
Pele, (born Edson Arantes do Nascimento) is considered one of the greatest footballers of all time, and he won three World Cups with Brazil in 1958, 1962 and 1970.
Now 73, Pele spent his entire club career at Santos, with the exception of a brief spell at the New York Cosmos after coming out of retirement.
Julie DiMauro is the executive editor at FCPA Blog and can be reached here.