Pele's son to serve 13 years in drugs case

SAO PAULO • The son of football great Pele turned himself in to police on Friday, after a Brazilian court ruled that he must serve almost 13 years of a 33-year drug-trafficking sentence.

A former goalkeeper at Pele's former club Santos, Edinho, whose full name is Edson Cholbi do Nascimento, was found guilty of drug trafficking and money laundering in 2005 but has been fighting the charges since.

A judge heard his appeal against the original 33-year sentence on Thursday and reduced it to 12 years and 10 months.

Edinho, 46, protested his innocence and expressed confidence that "things will work themselves out".

"I am very frustrated because I am being accused of money laundering and I never did that; there is no evidence of that," he said in Santos, the city where his father, 76, made his name.

CLAIMING INNOCENCE

I am being accused of money laundering and I never did that.

EDINHO, Pele's son, denying a charge.

"The argument is about my friendship with the other accused, and I never denied that, but I never laundered money."

Edinho, who was accused of money laundering based on phone-tap evidence, vowed to keep fighting the charges.

One of seven children of three-time world champion Pele, Edinho was first detained in 2005 following a police swoop on a drug trafficking gang. He served six months in prison but was then released on parole.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 26, 2017, with the headline 'Pele's son to serve 13 years in drugs case'. Print Edition | Subscribe