SAO PAULO — A high court in Brazil will move forward with Italy’s case against former soccer star Robinho, who was sentenced in Europe to nine years in prison for rape.
In a ruling late Wednesday, Brazil’s superior court of justice set a date of Aug. 2 to decide whether the Italian government must translate Robinho’s full case into Portuguese and then send it to Brazilian authorities for further analysis, as requested by the former player’s lawyer.
Italian authorities want the 39-year-old Robinho to serve his sentence in Brazil, but the Brazilian court is yet to agree. Brazil doesn’t extradite nationals.
Robinho was convicted in Italy in 2017 for his part in the group sexual assault in Milan that took place four years previously, when he was playing for Serie A team AC Milan. Italy’s top court upheld the Brazilian’s sentence in 2022, after which Italian prosecutors issued an international arrest warrant.
Robinho lives in Santos, outside Sao Paulo. He relinquished his passport to Brazilian authorities in March.
His lawyers, who did not respond a request for comment from The Associated Press, claim he had consensual sexual relations at a bar with a young woman, as five of his friends also did.
If the Brazilian court rejects Robinho’s request for a full translation from Italy, it will be able to rule on his future.
The decision came hours after Brazilian news website UOL published audio recordings obtained by Italian authorities in which Robinho discussed the case with friends. The content was already known, but the player’s own voice making dismissive comments about the victim and the case itself shocked fans.
“We will punch her in her face. You will punch her in the face and say; ‘What did I do to you?’” Robinho tells a friend in one of the excerpts, during which he claims he did not take part of the rape.
In another dialogue, Robinho says “that is why I am laughing, I don’t care at all.”
“The girl was extremely drunk, she doesn’t even know who I am,” he said.
Robinho said in another conversation that he had left the bar after having sex with the young woman, but his friends remained with her. Later, he shows some concern about the story becoming public.
“If this comes out in the press, it will screw me,” said Robinho, who also played for Real Madrid and Manchester City.
Another Brazilian footballer, Dani Alves, is in jail in Spain while an investigation into a sexual assault accusation against him continues. Local authorities reportedly decided to investigate the case discreetly so they could arrest the former Barcelona player upon his return to Spain, in a move that avoided a situation similar to Robinho’s.
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