RIO DE JANEIRO Rio de Janeiro investigators suspect that Greece’s ambassador to Brazil was murdered at the behest of his wife and a police officer with whom she was romantically involved, Globo TV reported on Friday, citing police sources.
Greek Ambassador Kyriakos Amiridis, 59, had been missing since Monday night. His Brazilian wife, Françoise, reported him missing to police on Wednesday. The pair have a 10-year-old daughter.
Police also confirmed to Globo TV that the body has been identified as being Amiridis.
Investigators told Globo TV they believe Amiridis’ wife and the police officer, Sergio Moreira, arranged and possibly carried out the murder in a home where the diplomat and his wife were staying in a northern Rio suburb.
Police and Rio state security officials along with Greek officials declined to comment to Reuters on the television report, nor would they provide any other details.
In Athens, Greek foreign ministry spokesman Stratos Efthymiou said the government had no comment about the case.
Two other suspects were in custody, but they were not identified, Globo reported.
The O Globo newspaper earlier reported that blood was found on a couch inside the home. Globo TV on Friday afternoon showed police carrying a sofa into police headquarters.
A burned corpse was found Thursday evening inside the car that Amiridis and his wife had rented. It was parked under a highway overpass in the area where the couple had been staying.
On Thursday, police confirmed that the ambassador had been missing since Monday night, when he was last seen leaving the home of his wife’s family.
The incident is another blow to Rio’s image, just four months after it hosted the Summer Olympics.
The neighborhood where the car was found is dominated by powerful and politically connected armed groups mostly comprised of off-duty or retired police and firefighters who control vast areas. They are believed to often extort residents in exchange for keeping drug gangs from taking over the areas.
The armed groups have grown in strength in Rio for several years, and often curry favor with local politicians by promising to deliver votes from entire neighborhoods as long as authorities allow them to carry out their crimes.
Crime in Rio has been rising and the state is deeply indebted, often unable to pay police and other salaries on time, if at all.
Amiridis served as Greece’s consul general in Rio from 2001 to 2004. He was Greece’s ambassador to Libya from 2012 until he took the top Brazil post at the beginning of 2016.
(Reporting by Brad Brooks in Sao Paulo, Paulo Prada in Rio de Janeiro and George Georgiopoulos in Athens; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)