Diego Maradona's ex-girlfriend said the football legend had set a trap for her, denying she stole jewelry from his Dubai mansion as an Argentine court released her on bail.
"Maradona set me up. He knows I didn't take anything from him," 22-year-old Rocio Oliva said with a broken voice as she left the Buenos Aires courthouse where a judge granted her conditional release after formally charging her for theft.
Maradona, 53, says Oliva stole hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of watches, diamond earrings and other jewelry from him in Dubai, where he works as a sports promoter and where they lived together on Palm Jumeirah, a palm tree-shaped artificial island. Oliva denies the charges and accuses Maradona of hitting her. She was arrested late on Wednesday at Ezeiza airport in Buenos Aires after the United Arab Emirates issued a warrant for her. The pair were spotted in Rio de Janeiro last month, where according to gossip magazines they tried unsuccessfully to patch things up.
Oliva, who is herself a footballer in Buenos Aires, said Maradona had paid for her to travel to Rio and meet him "because he loves me."
Maradona for his part said Oliva had cheated on him as well as stolen from him, and called on her to return his property. "If she returns my things, the problem's over," he told TV program Intrusos. Otherwise Oliva will face "consequences," he vowed, saying they had been fighting over the matter for five months. The United Arab Emirates, where Maradona pressed charges against Oliva, does not have an extradition treaty with Argentina, said her lawyer, Jose Vera.
He called the threat of extradition "extraordinary" given the nature of the charges and blamed his client's dramatic arrest on "the high profile of the accuser."