Justin Bieber faces arrest in Brazil for illegally spray painting graffiti on a Rio hotel’s wall four years ago after a judge reopened the criminal case against him.
The Love Yourself singer, who is due to arrive in the country on Wednesday, was charged with ‘crime against the city order and cultural heritage’ after defacing the side of a famous £23million hotel during his last visit to the country in 2013.
The case was suspended after the Canadian star left the country to continue his tour before justice officials could notify him of the charges.
Now, with Bieber due to play Rio again on Wednesday night, prosecutors have reopened the case and will officially notify him of the charges when he arrives in the country.
In a statement, the Public Prosecution Service in Rio: ‘With the news that the singer will be returning to Brazil, the Prosecution Service requested that the court issue a writ of summons in his name. The request is so that the accused is made aware of the charges.’
Rio de Janeiro judge Rudi Lowenkron has ordered a court clerk to be waiting for the singer when he arrives at the city’s international airport, when he will be asked to sign a document confirming he is aware of the case.
If he refuses, the judge has authorised the ‘use of police force’ to ensure he signs the document ‘during’ his show at the city’s Apoteose Square venue, where hundreds of fans are already camped out.
As well as hearing the charges, translated into English, Bieber will also be informed that he should hire a defence lawyer, according to the court order.
Following the formality, Bieber is likely to be questioned by police with a judge expected to pass sentence before he is due to leave the country again after his final show in Sao Paulo on Sunday.
Defacing any building is a crime in Brazil punishable by up to one year in jail or a fine. The Hotel Nacional, which the singer and his entourage tagged in 2013 is protected as a heritage site by the Brazilian government.
While minor infractions in crime-ridden Rio de Janeiro often go unpunished, authorities have a habit of making examples of high-profile foreigners who flaunt or mock the country’s laws.
During last summer’s Olympic Games, American swimmer Ryan Lochte was charged with filing a false robbery report after he and three other swim team members said they had been held up at gunpoint.