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Body found in Rio may be missing Greek envoy

December 30, 2016

Police have said a body found inside a charred vehicle near Rio de Janeiro may be that of the Greek ambassador to Brazil, missing since Monday night. Kyriakos Amiridis had been on holiday with family.

(Ausschnitt) Brasilien Rio de Janeiro Präsident Michel Temer (L) und Botschafter Griechenland Kyriakos Amiridis (R)
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/B. Barata Presidency of Brazil

Rio police think body in car is Greek diplomat

Brazilian authorities said Thursday they are examining a corpse found in a burned car in the city of Nova Iguacu, north of Rio, but could not confirm whether it was that of missing Greek ambassador Kyriakos Amiridis (pictured above).

"The information that we can confirm right now is that we have found a car in [the district of] Nova Iguacu with a body and it is being investigated," said a source in the police's homicide squad. The source also declined to expand on whether the charred car's license plate matched that of the car Amiridis is reported to have rented, nor when DNA results from the scene would be returned.

However, Brazilian television channel Globo, which showed images of the burnt car, reported that the license plate did indeed match with the 59-year-old envoy's rented vehicle, and said police suspect the body to be that of Amiridis.

Missing since Monday

Rio de Janeiro's state police had confirmed earlier on Thursday that the ambassador had been missing for three days.

A police spokeswoman told The Associated Press that a family member reported Amiridis missing in the city of Nova Iguacu, 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Rio, where he had been vacationing with his family. According to authorities, the ambassador was last seen Monday evening leaving the home of friends of his Brazilian wife in a poor and violent Rio suburb.

After Amiridis was declared missing, the Greek Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying "the full mobilization of all the competent Brazilian authorities was requested."

Rio police inspector Evaristo Pontes told the "Folha de S. Paulo" newspaper it was unlikely Amiridis was kidnapped. "We're following some leads, but not that one," he said. "If it had been [a kidnapping], those who took him would have made contact by now." 

Amiridis was named Greece's ambassador to Brazil at the beginning of 2016, having previously served as consul general in Rio from 2001 to 2004.

Before moving back to Brazil, he served as Greek ambassador to Libya between 2012 and 2016.

According to the Greek Embassy in Brasilia, Amiridis is married and has one daughter.

dm/cmk (AFP, Reuters)