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Ronaldinho passport seized over failure to pay £1.7m fine

The former FIFA Player of the Year is in trouble for putting up a building in an unauthorized place

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Ronaldinho and his brother have their passports seized by a Brazilian court for failing to pay a fine of 8.5 million Brazilian Real (£1.7m) after they had been fined for building on an environmental protection area

The former Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain star and his brother, Roberto, were convicted of illegal construction in February 2015 and ordered to pay 8.5 million Brazilian Real (£1.7m).

Along with company Reno Constructions and Incorporations Ltd., they were found to have built a sugar mill with a fishing platform and a pier in a permanent preservation area on Lake Guaíba without permission.

Having so far defaulted on the payments and proving difficult to track down, the 38-year-old and his brother were taken to court again, and the public prosecutor said that an investigation into their bank accounts revealed a balance of just 24.63 Brazilian Real (£5).

"There is no other measure than the retention of the passports as a coercive measure in the face of repeated unfair, abusive and total disrespect, disobedience and non-compliance with the legal system," the prosecutor argued.

The court in Rio Grande do Sul, the 2005 Ballon d'Or winner's home state, has now ruled that the footballing icon must submit his passport when he returns to Brazil from his current travels.

A statement from Judge Newton Fabrício read: "The subjects responsible for the depletion of the environment have long been evading compliance with their legal obligations, even though they have the means to settle it and are public figures with high purchasing power able to compensate for the environmental damages that remain fully defaulted."

He continued: "Although photographed routinely in different parts of the world, corroborated by the gathering of Certificates of Migratory Movements, the defendants, curiously, in their country of origin, have an uncertain and/or unknown whereabouts.

"I determine the immediate seizure of the passports of the defendants by the authorities, with the additional order to include restriction on issuing a new passport until the fulfillment of the obligation determined in the sentence."

Ronaldinho, one of the most exciting players to grace the turf hanged up his boot in 2015.

He is currently an ambassador of Barcelona FC.

Ronaldinho played key roles when Brazil won the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan and also inspired Barcelona to the UEFA Champions League triumph in 2006

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