Former goalkeeper and son of the soccer legend Pele was ordered to begin serving nearly 13 years in prison Friday for money laundering and drug trafficking, according to his lawyer.
Edson Cholbi do Nascimento, more commonly known as “Edinho,” was originally sentenced to 33 years behind bars in 2014. But due to a lengthy appeals process, he did not serve time in prison until the new decision that was handed down on Friday.
“He is going to turn himself in as soon as the decision is in the system,” Eugenio Malavasi, Edinho’s lawyer, told Reuters after the hearing.
Edinho maintained his innocence on Friday and vowed to continue fighting the charges. “I am very frustrated because I am being accused of money laundering and I never did that, there is no evidence of that,” Edinho told reporters in Santos.
Edinho was a goalkeeper for several clubs in Brazil in the 1990’s, including Pele’s home club FC Santos, but could never match the prestige of Pele. Edinho also served as a recent coach for Atletico Tricordiano de Tres Coacoes football club.
Pele did not publicly comment on Friday’s ruling. Pele won three World Cups for Brazil during his playing days in the 1950s through 1970s.