Controversial Brazilian striker Adriano failed to appear at a police interview Monday in connection with alleged links to a drug-dealing gang that has been accused of murdering police officers.
Adriano had been summoned for a 1700 GMT meeting to be quizzed by chief Luiz Alberto Cunha de Andrade.
But he did not show in person, instead sending his lawyer Adilson Fernandes to ask for the meeting to be delayed, a police spokesman told AFP, adding that no date had been set for the footballer to re-appear.
The news could be a blow to Serie A side AS Roma, for whom the Flamengo striker — known as much for his goalscoring talents as the controversy he courts off the pitch — will sign in June.
Adriano, who has played for Inter Milan, Fiorentina and Parma in Italy’s Serie A but failed to make the cut for Brazil’s World Cup squad, 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.