Brazilian-born footballer faces fake passport probe
SEOUL, Oct. 19 (Yonhap) -- South Korean pro football club Gangwon FC said Wednesday their midfielder Sergio Paulo Nascimento Filho, better known as Serginho, is under police investigation for allegedly using a fake passport.
Gangwon, a club in the second-tier K League Challenge, said Serginho is being investigated by the National Police Agency's foreign affairs division and immigration authorities at the Ministry of Justice for apparently holding a doctored passport.
Serginho holds dual citizenship of Brazil and Syria. He joined Gangwon in June through the league's Asian player quota. The K League allows teams to have three foreign players, as well as one player from Asian Football Confederation member countries.
Serginho, born in Rio de Janeiro, claimed that he was able to acquire Syrian citizenship in 2013 since his grandfather is of Syrian descent. However, South Korean authorities suspect the 28-year-old footballer obtained a forged passport through a broker.
Gangwon, currently in fourth place in the K League Challenge, said they signed Serginho after he earned a visa through the South Korean Embassy in Brazil with his Syrian passport.
Gangwon said they will suspend Serginho until the local court makes its ruling on the case.
Serginho is in his second season in South Korea. He was with Daegu FC last year, scoring four goals and collecting two assists in 36 matches. For this season with Gangwon, he registered two assists in 16 matches.