Court orders Pele’s son to begin 13-year Brazil prison sentence

A Brazilian court has ruled that football legend Pele’s son Edinho, who was convicted of money laundering and drug trafficking, must begin serving nearly 13 years in prison, his lawyer said.

The 46-year-old former goalkeeper, who briefly played for his father’s former club Santos, was sentenced to 33 years in 2014.

However, a lengthy appeals process meant Edson “Edinho” Cholbi do Nascimento had not yet begun serving the time. On Thursday, a judge reaffirmed his conviction for laundering money raised from drug trafficking, but reduced the sentence to up to 12 years and 10 months, his lawyer Eugenio Malavasi told AFP. Edinho — who was accused of laundering based on phone tap evidence — has said he will continue to fight the allegations.

He refutes the accusations and has said 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.

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