A policeman from Rio de Janeiro confessed to murdering the ambassador of Greece to Brazil, which investigators called on Friday a “cowardly act” executed at the direction of the Brazilian wife of the diplomat with whom the officer was romantic.
Ambassador Kyriakos Amiridis, 59, was absent since Monday night. Françoise, his Brazilian wife and the mother of their 10-year-old daughter, reported him disappeared to the police on Wednesday.
Sergio Moreira, 29, confessed Friday to the police that he killed the ambassador on Monday evening in the house of Rio de Janeiro where the Amiridises belonged to Nova Iguaçu, a neighborhood hardly rooted in the northern suburb of Rio.
Investigator Evaristo Magalhaes told reporters that Françoise, 40, and Moreira had arranged the murder a few days in advance. The wife of Amiridis and the officer are both in detention. The police also detained a cousin of the officer, who, according to Magalhaes, acted as a watchman while the crime was committed and helped to transport the body of the house with the promise that he would be paid $ 80,000 ($ 25,000).
“It was a tragic, cowardly act, but we worked tirelessly to break this matter as soon as possible,” Magalhaes told a news conference. Brazilian President Michel Temer, in a letter to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, said that the murder of the ambassador had caused him deep sadness and conveyed his condolences to the Greek family, friends and people, ambassador.
The Greek Embassy in Brasilia refused to comment. In Athens, Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Stratos Efthymiou said the government had no comment. Amiridis was Consul General of Greece in Rio from 2001 to 2004. He was Ambassador of Greece to Libya from 2012 until he took the first post in Brazil in early 2016.
Blood on the couch
Magalhaes said the blood was found on a couch inside the house and the ambassador was probably stabbed to death as no shots were reported in the area. However, he said it was not yet possible to determine the exact cause of the death because the policeman had burned the body of the ambassador in an attempt to conceal the crime. A burned corpse was found Thursday night inside the car that Amiridis and his wife had rented. It was parked under a motorway passage 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 Rio house he shared with his wife, who was near his family’s residence in Nova Iguacu. The incident is another blow to the image of Rio, just four months after hosting the summer Olympics.
The crime in Rio has increased and the state is deeply in debt, often unable to pay the police and other wages on time or not at all. The neighborhood where the car was found is dominated by powerful, politically connected armed groups composed mainly of out-serving or retired policemen and firefighters controlling large areas.
They often extort the residents in exchange to keep the drug bands from taking over the areas. Armed groups have developed for many years and have often been supportive of local politicians by promising to deliver entire neighborhood votes as long as the authorities allow them to carry out their crimes.