Sao Paulo: A Brazilian court has sentenced Pele’s son Edinho to 33 years in prison for laundering money for drug traffickers, media reports said.
Edson Cholbi Nascimento, nicknamed Edinho, denies the charges in the case, which dates from 2005, and will be allowed to remain free pending appeal, said a radio channel and a news website.
The Praia Grande criminal court in Sao Paulo also sentenced three other defendants to 33 years and ordered the confiscation of all property seized in the police operation against them, including about 100 cars.
Edinho, 43, is accused of ties with a drug cartel led by Ronaldo “Naldinho” Duarte Barsotti.
But though he admits buying drugs from the cartel, he denies working with them.
Edinho had a relatively low-key career in the 1990s playing for Santos, the same club where his father shot to fame.
Pele has seven children. Considered one of the greatest footballers of all time, he won three World Cups with Brazil, in 1958, 1962 and 1970.
Edinho is Pele’s third son from his first marriage. He was five when the family moved to New York to play for Cosmos.
When he returned to Brazil he decided to pursue a career in professional football – as a goalkeeper, much to his father’s surprise.
His detention and alleged involvement with drug gangs took most people in Brazil by surprise.
Pele, now 73, went to visit his son several times in jail.
“God willing, justice will be done. There is not a shred of evidence against my son,” he said in 2006. Edinho said that his father was his idol.