A Brazilian military police officer has confessed to killing Greek Ambassador to Brasilia Kyriakos Amiridis, the husband of his lover, in what he claims to have been self-defense. Police contradict his claim, however, stating evidence points to the ambassador’s wife Francoise orchestrating the murder.
Françoise de Souza Oliveira reported her husband missing to police on Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro, where the couple and their ten-year-old daughter were on vacation. Police ultimately found burned remains they believe to be of the Greek ambassador in a hollowed-out car apparently set on fire shortly after Amiridis’s death.
The Brazilian newspaper O Globo reports that two men have been arrested in connection with the killing: military police officer Sérgio Gomes Moreira Filho and Eduardo Moreira Tedeschi de Melo, described in conflicting reports as either Filho’s cousin or nephew. Filho has confessed to killing Amiridis but claims he did so in self-defense, alleging that he had come to the ambassador’s vacation home to reproach him for an alleged assault on his wife. Involved in a fist fight, Filho claims he strangled Amiridis upon noticing a firearm within the ambassador’s reach.
According to police, Filho then “drove about 300 kilometers” using the ambassador’s rented vacation car with the body, ultimately setting it on fire in Nova Friburgo.
De Souza’s version of events corroborates Filho’s; she has confirmed to police that they were lovers and insisted that she had no role in the killing and could not have participated or stopped it because she was out with their daughter at the time.
Moreira’s account, however, differs significantly from the couple’s. Moreira has confessed to being a “lookout” accomplice for Filho, waiting outside of the home to ensure no one would interrupt the killing. He participated, he told police, because de Souza offered 80,000 reais ($25,500) to aid in killing her husband and threatened to kill him if he told police. Moreira claims de Souza warned, “if you denounce us, you will end up like the ambassador.”
Moreira also claims she never told him her husband was an ambassador, merely a “businessman” — possibly to avoid scaring him away from the job given the very public murder of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov in December. Unlike that assassination — also by a policeman, Mevlut Mert Altintas, who stated he sought “revenge” for Aleppo through his act — police have not found any reason to believe that Amiridis’s death is a political crime.
Police investigator Evaristo Pontes Magalhaes told reporters in a press conference Friday that de Souza was a prime suspect. “All our evidence suggests that her motivation was to use the financial resources left by the ambassador so she could enjoy life with Sergio,” he explained. In addition to Moreira’s testimony, police note that they found blood on the sofa in the vacation home where the crime occurred, contradicting the asphyxiation claim and that surveillance footage shows de Souza returned home before Filho removed the body yet waited two more days to contact police regarding her husband’s disappearance.
Prior to his tenure as Greek Ambassador to Brazil, Amiridis served as Greece’s ambassador to Libya between 2012 and 2016. He has previously engaged in diplomatic efforts in Rio de Janeiro.