The former Manchester City and Brazil forward Robinho has been sentenced in absentia to nine years in prison by an Italian court after convicting him of taking part in a gang rape of an Albanian woman in 2013.
A Milan court ruled that Robinho and five other Brazilians assaulted the woman, who was 22 at the time, after plying her with alcohol in a discotheque. The whereabouts of Robinho’s five companions are not known, so their trial has been put on hold.
Robinho, 33, who played for Milan from 2010-2015 and is currently with Atlético Mineiro in Brazil, pleaded not guilty via his lawyer and did not appear at any of the court hearings in northern Italy.
“We would like to clarify that he has already defended himself against the accusations, affirming that he did not participate in the episode,” said a statement posted on Robinho’s Instagram feed. “All legal measures are being taken.”
Robinho has a right to two appeals and Italy would seek extradition only once this legal process is exhausted, a source said. However, Brazil does not allow for the extradition of its own citizens, meaning he would risk arrest and deportation only if he was stopped in a third country.
Robinho’s sentence will be put on hold until the appeals process is completed.
The Milan court ordered the victim receive 60,000 euros ($71,000) as compensation for her suffering.
Robinho has won 100 caps for Brazil, scoring 28 goals. He began his career at Santos, where he starred in a side that won the league in 2002 and 2004. His performances won him a move to Real Madrid in 2005 but he stayed only three years before moving to City in a British-record £32.5m transfer.