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Pele’s son found guilty of money laundering, sentenced to 33 years in prison

Jun 2, 2014, 11:38 PM EST

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pele AP

While Pele makes the commercial rounds promoting various products ahead of his home nation’s World Cup, things are decidedly sadder back home. Finding his 33-year-old son Edinho guilty of money laundering from a drug cartel, a Brazilian judge has sentenced the soccer great’s son to 33 years in prison.

A former professional soccer player himself, Edinho, whose birth name is Edson Cholbi do Nascimento, remains free on appeal. Judge Suzana Pereira has ordered to him to surrender his passport this week, with do Nascimento facing his second spell in prison.

Currently a goalkeepers coach with Santos FC, Edinho served a six-month sentence after a gang sweep in 2005. The same year, he was acquitted of manslaughter charges stemming from a motorcycle racing incident in 1999.

According to Pele’s personal advisor, the soccer legend is traveling in China and unavailable for comment. Santos also declined to make a statement, calling the affair a personal matter.

More details, from the AP’s reporting:

“The process is still open. He can still appeal and have another court review the case,” Pereira said.

Pereira said she couldn’t reveal many details about last week’s ruling because both parties agreed to handle the case privately. But she said she found enough proof to convict Do Nascimento.

The defendant’s lawyer could not be reached for comment. Do Nascimento previously denied the charges, although he said he had used drugs out of curiosity after he quit professional soccer.

Pele’s face is going to be front-and-center until the end of the World Cup, something that will make it more difficult to deal with today’s news. Ultimately, the real struggle now rests with Edinho, not his more famous father.

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