Retired pro soccer star Ronaldinho Gaúcho has testified at a congressional hearing in Brazil, denying his involvement in an alleged $61 million crypto pyramid scheme that bore his name.
On Aug. 31 Ronaldinho appeared before a parliamentary committee inquiry where he refuted any role in the scheme called “18kRonaldinho” that promised 2% daily returns on crypto. A lawsuit was filed against the firm, seeking $61 million in damages.
Ronaldinho claimed he was never partnered with the company, and it used his name and image without his authorization, arguing he was also a victim of the purported scheme.
During the hearing, images were shown of 18kRonaldinho’s marketing that depicted Ronaldinho.
He said the pictures were taken as part of a contract he signed in July 2019 with a subsidiary of the company that sells watches but that contract was terminated later that year in October and was never executed.
The inquiry’s president, Aureo Ribeiro,asked Ronaldinho if he intended to reimburse those who invested in the company, to which Ronaldinho said he would remain silent.
He also did not answer when asked about the $61 million lawsuit.
Ronaldinho had failed to appear before two previous hearings related to the inquiry, most recently on Aug. 24. He said weather conditions meant he was not able to attend.
The latest Aug. 31 hearing was his last chance to appear before Congress — if he didn’t, Ronaldinho faced possible fines or arrest in which authorities would’ve forcibly taken him to appear at the hearing.
It’s investigating a total of 11 companies alleged by the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission to have falsely promised high returns using crypto.