Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil World Cup winner Edilson accused of fraud

Edilson celebrates quarter-final win against England in the 2002 World Cup Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Edilson played against England in the 2002 World Cup quarter-final match

Prosecutors in Brazil have requested the indictment of former international football player Edilson for involvement in a lottery fraud scheme.

Edilson, 45, played in Brazil's 2002 World Cup winning squad and for some of the country's top clubs.

Investigators say he used his fame and prestige to persuade bank managers to cooperate with the scheme.

The gang produced false winning lottery tickets, which were validated by the managers.

The prize money was then paid into accounts set up by the gang.

'Little Devil'

Edilson was briefly taken into police custody in September and denied the allegations of fraud, corruption, falsifying documents and money-laundering.

The criminal gang operated across the country and dealt with huge amounts of money, federal police said.

It targeted managers from Caixa Economica Federal, the state bank that manages the lottery.

During his successful career Edilson was known as The Little Devil for his dribbling skills.

He played alongside some of the greatest Brazilian players of his generation, including Ronaldo, Romario and Edmundo.

Edilson also played for Portugal giants Benfica and Japan's Kashiwa Reysol before retiring in 2010.

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