Pele's son vows to clear his name after being jailed for money laundering

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AFP
Edinho, who has been handed a prison sentence of 12 years and 10 months, denies all charges and is determined to prove his innocence

The son of Brazil great Pele has vowed to clear his name after being ordered to serve prison time for alleged drug trafficking and money laundering.

Edinho, a former Santos goalkeeper, handed himself in to police to complete his sentencing after a court in Sao Paulo ruled on Friday that he must serve 12 years and 10 months in prison. He denies all charges against him.

The 46-year-old was first arrested in 2005 but appealed against the charges and has been free to work as head coach of Tricordiano.

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A court sentenced Edinho to an initial 33 years in prison in 2014. Although that sentence has been reduced, he must be imprisoned while his appeal continues.

Speaking to the media as he arrived at a police station in Santos, Edinho insisted that the case against him is based purely on his association with other suspects.

"I'm frustrated because I'm being massacred by the courts," he said, as quoted by Globo. "But I have to trust in that same court and I'm sure that, over time, things will be put right.

"The frustration is huge because I'm being accused of money laundering, but I've never done that. There's no proof in this process of that.

"The argument is related to my friendship with the other accused. I have never denied that but I have never laundered money. The argument for conviction is simply friendship. It's difficult to accept and to go through everything I've gone through for more than 15 years.

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"I'm ashamed, I regret my carelessness, but I did not commit a crime. I'm strong. I'm going to overcome this."

Pele, the three-time World Cup-winner considered by many to be the greatest player in football history, stated in 2006 that he expected the case against Edinho to collapse.

"God willing, justice will be done," he said. "There is not a shred of evidence against my son."

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