Brazil striker Adriano questioned over alleged drug links

Rio de Janeiro: Controversial Brazilian striker Adriano was questioned by authorities in Rio over allegations of links to a drug-dealing gang that has been accused of murdering police officers.

Adriano faced questioning having Monday failed to appear at a police interview Monday in connection with the allegations, sending his lawyer instead to ask for a delay.

He finally appeared with lawyer Adilson Fernandes and emerged an hour later without comment.

Head of Rio`s civil police Allan Turnowski said Adriano had been questioned in order to "clarify some points of the enquiry, as in the case of any citizen."

The striker, who missed the cut for Brazil`s World Cup squad, is set to head for a week`s holiday on Sardinia at the weekend before heading off to join Roma for pre-season training in July.

Adriano is suspected of being involved in financial dealings with members of a drugs gang run by Fabiano Atanasio da Silva in the Vila Cruzeiro favela.

Da Silva has been accused of being involved in the shooting down of a police helicopter on October 17, 2009, an incident which led to the death of three police officers.

In October 2008 he was also accused of the murder of a prison chief.

According to local newspaper reports Adriano is also being investigated after two controversial photographs of the centre-forward came to light.

On its front page O Dia daily published a picture of Adriano making the initials `CV` with his fingers. In Rio CV is also an abbreviation for the Comando Vermelho criminal gang.

Another picture shows the 28-year-player posing with a rifle.

Both pictures are believed to have been taken when Adriano lived in Italy.

A press spokesman for the player told the paper Adriano had simply posed with a "replica gun which is used for paintball".

Local police last took an interest in Adriano in April when he was called to explain why one of his motorbikes was registered to the mother of a known drug dealer, Paulo Rogerio de Souza Paz, who is also a childhood friend.

That case has yet to be closed.

Bureau Report

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