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Brazil

Greek ambassador to Brazil murdered by wife's lover: police

Police in Rio de Janeiro have alleged that the Greek ambassador to Brazil was murdered in a "crime of passion" plot hatched by his wife and her lover, a police officer. The officer has confessed to the crime.

A policeman in Rio de Janeiro has confessed to murdering Greece's ambassador to Brazil in a plot carried out at the direction of the diplomat's Brazilian wife, with whom the officer was romantically involved.

Evaristo Pontes Magalhaes, Rio homicide division chief, told a news conference on Friday that Ambassador Kyriakos Amiridis was murdered in a "crime of passion."

A burned car sits in the parking lot (Reuters/R. Moraes)

Amiridis' body was found in this burned-out rental car

His corpse was found Thursday evening in his burned-out white rental car parked under a highway overpass at Nova Iguacu, 41 kilometers (25 miles) north of Rio de Janeiro.

Amiridis had been declared missing by his wife, Francoise, on Wednesday. She and the suspected officer were later taken into custody and questioned.

Magalhaes has alleged that Francoise, 40, and the accused police officer Sergio Moreira, 29, had arranged the murder a few days in advance.

The "O Globo" newspaper had earlier reported that blood was found on a couch inside the Amiridis home in a northern Rio suburb. Forensic analysis had uncovered signs of a struggle, according to Brazilian news site "G1."

Police have also detained a cousin of the officer, who Magalhaes said acted as a lookout and accomplice. Brazilian broadcaster Globo TV reported that two other suspects were also in custody.

"This was a tragic, cowardly act, but we worked tirelessly to crack this case as soon as possible," Magalhaes told the news conference.

In Athens, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry said the Greek government had no comment on the case.

Soaring crime rates

Amiridis, 59, had served as Greece's consul general in Rio from 2001 to 2004, and then as ambassador to Libya from 2012, before being named ambassador to Brasilia earlier this year.

Rio de Janeiro has seen crime rates soar in recent months, fueled by drug gang violence. Nova Iguacu, the area where the gutted car was found, is dominated by armed vigilantes who often extort residents in exchange for keeping drug gangs from taking over areas.

ipj/cmk (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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