Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil police say footballer Somalia 'faked' his kidnap

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Somalia said he was kidnapped on his way to the stadium in Rio de Janeiro

A Brazilian football player will be charged for falsely reporting he had been kidnapped as an excuse for running late for training, police say.

Somalia, a midfielder for the leading Rio de Janeiro club Botafogo, said he had been abducted at gunpoint at about 0700 on his way to the training ground.

But police say CCTV footage from his apartment building showed him leaving late for work at 0900.

Botafogo threatens its players with a 40% pay cut if they are late.

Inconsistencies

Somalia, whose real name is Paulo Rogerio Reis da Silva, told police he had been carjacked and driven around Rio for two hours before having his money and jewellery stolen.

Officers say they became suspicious at inconsistencies in the player's statement and decided to check video footage recorded in his building.

They say the footage showed he had lied about the kidnapping.

Police officials say that if he is found guilty, he could face up to six months in prison.

Somalia, who showed up for training on Friday on time, has not commented further.

His club says it will wait for more information before it decides whether to punish the player.

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