Court bars Robinho from leaving Brazil

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By Associated Press

RIO DE JANEIRO: Former soccer star Robinho was ordered to hand over his passport while Brazilian judicial authorities determine whether he should serve his nine-year sentence for rape in Brazil.

Robinho was convicted in Italy in 2017 for his part in the group sexual assault in Milan that took place four years previously, when he was playing for Serie A team AC Milan. Italy’s top court upheld the Brazilian’s sentence in 2022, after which Italian prosecutors issued an international arrest warrant.

Judge Francisco Falcão “prohibited the sportsman from leaving the country. He has to deliver his passport to the court within five days,” a statement from a Brazilian court said Friday.

Brazil does not extradite its own citizens when they are sentenced in other countries, and Italy has asked that Robinho serve his sentence in his home country. There is no deadline for a decision of Brazil’s superior court of justice to decide whether he will serve his sentence in Brazil.

The 39-year-old Robinho lives in Santos, outside Sao Paulo.

Falcão “took into account the seriousness of the crime, the international repercussions of the case and the player’s economic condition, which could facilitate an eventual escape from Brazil,” the statement added.

Italian media reports said the victim was celebrating her 23rd birthday in Milan on the night. Robinho denied the charges.

Robinho began his career at Santos before starring with Real Madrid, Manchester City and Milan, among other clubs. The forward returned for a third stint with Santos in 2020 but the contract was suspended less than a week later after a sponsor cut its ties with the club “out of respect for women.”