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article imageGreek envoy feared killed in 'crime of passion' in Brazil

By Marie HOSPITAL (AFP)     Dec 30, 2016 in World

Brazilian police suspect Greek Ambassador Kyriakos Amiridis was killed in a "crime of passion," a source close to the investigation said Friday, as detectives interrogated his wife and a policeman who was reportedly her lover.

Amiridis went missing while vacationing with his family in Rio de Janeiro, a picturesque but crime-plagued city where he served as Greece's consul general from 2001 to 2004, before being named ambassador to Brasilia this year.

His Brazilian wife, Francoise Amiridis, formally reported him missing on Wednesday.

Then, on Thursday, police found what appeared to be the 59-year-old ambassador's body, burned beyond recognition, inside a torched and abandoned car rented in his name.

Francoise Amiridis and two other people -- all considered "suspects" -- were brought in for questioning Friday morning at the homicide division for Baixada Fluminense, a neighborhood on Rio de Janeiro's west side, the source close to the investigation told AFP.

The ambassador's wife had already been questioned Thursday about her husband's disappearance, but "the division chief wanted to see her again," said the source, adding: "A crime of passion is the most solid trail in the investigation."

The other two suspects are a policeman and a young man.

Brazilian media reports said investigators believed the arrested policeman was Francoise Amiridis's lover.

- Body moved? -

The ambassador's charred rental car could be seen in the parking lot outside the police station, an AFP correspondent said.

Amiridis had been on vacation with his family in Nova Iguacu, on Rio's north side, since December 21.

A man looks at the burned-out rental car of missing Greek ambassador to Brazil Kyriakos Amiridis  at...
A man looks at the burned-out rental car of missing Greek ambassador to Brazil Kyriakos Amiridis, at a parking lot outside the police station in Belford Roxo, in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro, on December 30, 2016
Fabio TEIXEIRA, AFP

He was due to fly back to Brasilia on January 9, a Greek embassy official told AFP.

Brazilian news site G1 reported that investigators believed the ambassador had been killed at the home where the family was staying.

Forensics analysis uncovered signs of a struggle, it said.

Investigators believe Amiridis was killed inside, then placed inside his rental car and driven to the spot where the burned-out vehicle was found, on the slope of a busy suburban thoroughfare.

Police said Thursday they had immediately ruled out a kidnapping, since no ransom demand had been received.

A Greek police team was due to leave Friday for Brazil to take part in the investigation, while Greece's ambassador in Argentina was headed to Brasilia, Athens said.

Amiridis had served as Greece's ambassador to Libya from 2012 until earlier this year when he was appointed to move to Brazil.

He has a 10-year-old daughter, according to the embassy in Brasilia.

Hit hard by Brazil's worst recession in more than a century, Rio de Janeiro state is facing bankruptcy and struggling to deal with the violent crime that has long dogged it.

The 2016 Olympic host city has seen crime rates soar in recent months, fueled by drug gang violence.

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