Sao Paulo (AFP) – The son of football legend Pele turned himself in late Friday after being ordered by a Brazilian court to begin serving a nearly 13-year prison sentence for money laundering and drug trafficking.
Edson “Edinho” Cholbi do Nascimento, who briefly played for his father’s former club Santos, had so far avoided serving time while his case underwent a lengthy appeals process.
But on Thursday a judge reaffirmed the conviction, reduced Edinho’s original 2014 sentence from 33 years to 12 years and 10 months, and ordered him to begin serving time.
The 46-year-old former goalkeeper spoke to reporters before turning himself in at a police station in the Brazilian port city of Santos.
“There’s great frustration because I am being accused of money laundering, but I never did that,” he said, according to the G1 news portal.
Edinho — who was accused of laundering based on phone tap evidence — has said he will continue to fight the allegations and that his only contact with drug traffickers was as a drug user.
One of seven children of three-time world champion Pele, Edinho was first detained in 2005 following a police swoop on a drug trafficking gang. He served six months in prison but was then released on parole.
Pele is considered one of the greatest footballers of all time and won three World Cups with Brazil in 1958, 1962 and 1970.