Body in burnt car in Brazil feared to be that of missing Greek ambassador

The Greek Ambassador to Brazil Kyriakos Amiridis (centre) has been missing since Dec 26, 2016, and is now feared to be dead.
The Greek Ambassador to Brazil Kyriakos Amiridis (centre) has been missing since Dec 26, 2016, and is now feared to be dead.PHOTO: AFP / BRAZILIAN PRESIDENCY / MARCOS CORREA

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - The discovery of a burnt-out car in Rio state on Thursday (Dec 29) with a body inside has sparked fears that it might be that of the Greek Ambassador to Brazil, who had been missing since Monday.

Rio police were examining the corpse and scene but could not immediately say whether the body was that of the envoy, 59-year-old Kyriakos Amiridis.

"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," a source in the homicide squad told AFP.

The source would not say whether the licence plate of the car was from the rental vehicle the ambassador was using, nor when DNA results on the body would be back.

However a source in the Greek Foreign Mnistry confirmed on Friday in Athens that the car was indeed the one used by Mr Amiridis.

"It's the car that the ambassador had rented," the source told AFP.

Mr Amiridis had been on vacation with his family in Rio de Janeiro's northern Nova Iguacu area since Dec 21.

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

But he went missing on Monday night, after going out of the apartment they were renting and taking the car, according to Brazilian media. His Brazilian wife formally declared him missing on Wednesday.

A Brazilian news website published photos of the burnt car found on the slope of a busy suburban thoroughfare. It reported that police "suspected" the body inside to be that of the ambassador.

The Greek Foreign Ministry had earlier issued a statement saying that after Mr Amiridis was declared missing, "the full mobilisation of all the competent Brazilian authorities was requested". Mr Amiridis was named ambassador this year. He had previously served as Greece's consul-general in Rio from 2001 to 2004.

He served as Greece's ambassador to Libya from 2012 to 2016.

He is married and has a daughter, according to the embassy in Brasilia.