Romario facing jail term

RIO DE JANEIRO - Troubled Brazilian footballer Romario, once considered one of the world's top strikers, has been forced to sell his luxury penthouse flat in Rio in a bid to fight crippling debts.

RIO DE JANEIRO - Troubled Brazilian footballer Romario, once considered one of the world's top strikers, has been forced to sell his luxury penthouse flat in Rio in a bid to fight crippling debts.

The 43-year-old Romario, who helped Brazil to World Cup victory in 1994, has seen his life spiral out of control in recent years and is still facing a three-and-a- half-year prison sentence and fine of R7,22million for tax evasion.

He is also the subject of an investigation into illegal betting and was recently taken to court for unpaid alimony owed to his first wife.

Brazilian television reported on Wednesday that Romario put his seaside flat, valued at nearly R40,1million, up for sale and it was snapped up at auction for $4,37million. All profits from the sale were seized by the Brazilian judicial authorities to help pay off Romario's debts.

In mid-July Romario was detained by police in Barra de Tijuca for 22 hours as they probed allegations of unpaid alimony.

After a court hearing he agreed to hand over $45000 (R361000) to his first wife, the mother of two of his seven children.

Romario announced his intention to resume playing and join second division side America de Rio de Janeiro . - AFP

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