JOHANNESBURG — Hollywood socialite Paris Hilton was arrested after a World Cup match in South Africa Friday on suspicion of marijuana possession but subsequently released without charge.
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The 29-year old great-granddaughter of Hilton hotels founder Conrad Hilton and her friend Jennifer Rovero were taken into custody after the Brazil-Netherlands World Cup quarter-final game in the South African coastal city.
Rovero, who describes herself as a former Playboy playmate, model and actress on her website, was sentenced to a fine of 1,000 rand ($130) or 30 days in jail for smoking a marijuana joint. Her lawyer told the court she was in South Africa to cover the World Cup as a freelance photographer.
"They were together, but we didn't have a case against Hilton. The joint was in Rovero's possession, not Hilton's," the prosecutor told Reuters.
Hilton arrived at the special court hearing in the South African city of Port Elizabeth looking tense and wearing a beige sleeveless cardigan, boots and green trousers.
Her publicist issued a statement calling the arrest a misunderstanding.
"Paris Hilton was questioned today by police in South Africa on allegations of smoking marijuana," the statement read.
"However I can confirm that the incident was a complete misunderstanding and it was actually another person in the group who did it. The case has been dropped against Paris and no charges will be made."
South Africa set up 56 special courts to deal swiftly with cases involving visitors for the World Cup.
Hilton made world headlines in June 2007, when she was spent three weeks in a Los Angeles jail for violating her probation in an earlier reckless driving charge.
The wafer-thin blonde, who has worked as a model, singer, actress, fashion designer, reality TV star, has since adopted a lower public profile.
However she remains a staple on red carpets around the world for movie premieres, night-club openings, and as a celebrity endorser of products ranging from wine to clothing.
The celebrity heiress arrived in South Africa Thursday, according to her posts on Twitter. After her release, she sent a post to reassure her fans that all was well:
"Hey guys, there's a lot of crazy rumors going around. Just want you all to know the truth. Everything is completely fine. I was not charged or arrested, cause I didn't do anything. I was assisting the police with the investigation and answering their questions. Everyone was super nice and friendly to me. I love South Africa! Such an amazing place, especially during The World Cup!"
Copyright 2012 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.