Latin America & Caribbean

Pele's son Edinho held in Brazil over money laundering

Picture taken on 12 April, 2007 of Brazilian football star Pele (right) and his son, former footballer and coach of goalkeepers in Santos FC, Edson Cholbi Nascimento, aka Edinho Image copyright AFP
Image caption Edinho (left) is the son of Brazil football legend Pele (right)

Police in Brazil have arrested the son of football legend Pele.

Edinho, whose full name is Edson Cholbi Nascimento, was detained in his home in the city of Santos on Tuesday.

He was sentenced to 33 years in prison in May for laundering money raised from drug trafficking, but was allowed to remain free pending his appeal.

Police said his arrest was to prevent him from fleeing the country after he had failed to hand over his passport to the authorities as requested.

'Surprise arrest'

Edinho, who is Pele's third son from his first marriage, said he had lost the document.

Police said the 43-year-old, who used to play as a goalkeeper for his father's former club, Santos, did not offer any resistance when he was taken into custody.

Edinho was found guilty of having links with a notorious drug gang in the city of Santos, in Sao Paulo state.

While he admitted buying drugs from the gang, he denied working with them.

His lawyer, Sidney Goncalves, said he would ask for his client to be released. "News of his arrest came as a surprise," Mr Goncalves said.

Mr Goncalves said keeping Edinho in custody was "unnecessary" as his passport had been cancelled and his client therefore had no way of leaving the country.

Edinho's father, Pele, is widely acknowledged to be the greatest footballer of his generation, winning the World Cup with the Brazilian national squad in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

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