MARSEILLE, France — Brazilian footballer Brandao has had rape charges against him dismissed for lack of evidence, his lawyer told AFP.
Brandao, currently playing for French side St Etienne, was accused of rape by a young woman who claimed that he attacked her in his car after offering to drive her home from a nightclub in Aix-en-Provence, near Marseille, in March 2011.
But lawyer Christopher Bass said Friday that the examining magistrate had dismissed the charges following "inconsistencies and contradictions" in the plaintiff's case.
"He's relieved and happy to have been cleared and believed by the justice. This affair lasted too long and really affected him a lot. He has a remarkable will and his faith helped get him through," Bass added.
The accuser now has 10 days in which to appeal the magistrate's ruling. Her lawyer Emmanuel Molina said a decision on whether to appeal would be taken after examining the reasons behind the ruling.
The alleged incident occurred when Brandao was playing for Marseille, whom he joined from Shakhtar Donetsk in January 2009. He was later loaned to Brazilian clubs Cruzeiro and Gremio in a bid to avoid media scrutiny.
The striker returned to Marseille in January this year but last month signed a two-year deal with Ligue 1 rivals St Etienne.
"He didn't play under me but the image I had of him was of a player who was well liked in the locker room and very useful for the team," said Marseille coach Elie Baup.
"He's a generous player, he did a lot of great things and scored quite a few goals, including a decisive one last season."
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