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23 February 2024

Pele's son freed pending appeal of money laundering conviction

The son of Brazilian football star Pele, former footballer and coach of goalkeepers in Santos FC, Edson Cholbi Nascimento (C), aka Edinho, is seen during a training session at the Rei Pele training center in Santos in 2013. (AFP)


The son of Brazilian football legend Pele was ordered released on Wednesday pending an appeal against his conviction and 13-year sentence for laundering drug-trafficking money.

Edson "Edinho" Cholbi do Nascimento, 46, had turned himself in last Friday, a day after a judge reconfirmed his conviction handed down in 2014 but cut his prison term from the original 33 years.

As his lawyers had lodged an appeal, the judge permitted Edinho to remain free until it was heard, the press service of Brazil's Supreme Court explained to AFP.

A former goalkeeper, Edinho briefly played for his father's former club Santos.

Accused of money laundering based on phone tap evidence, he 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.