|Missing Millionaire Hiding in Europe?|
|By CHRISTINA NG (@ChristinaNg27)||Nov 29, 2012, 3:45 PM|
A number of unusual signs point to the possibility that missing millionaire Guma Aguiar could be hiding out in the Netherlands, according to his wife's attorney.
Aguiar, 35, was last seen June 19 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Early the next morning, his 31-foot fishing boat, the T.T. Zion, washed up on a Fort Lauderdale beach with the engine running and lights on, but no sign of its Brazilian-born owner.
Speculation that Aguiar could still be alive has surrounded this mysterious case ever since his disappearance. The troubled millionaire had a history of legal problems and psychiatric issues.
Attorneys have been eager to interview Aguiar's associates, friends and family members. Ellen Aguiar has been deposed and maintains she does not know anything about her son's disappearance, according to attorney William Scherer, but an attempt to interview Aguiar's sister Angelika Aguiar Drew took a baffling turn.
In response to a subpoena to appear in court for a deposition, Aguiar's sister sent the court an affidavit from the Netherlands.
"She sent the Florida court an affidavit signed in the Netherlands that she intends to move her residence or has moved her residence to the Netherlands," Scherer told ABCNews.com.
Scherer represents Aguiar's wife, Jamie Aguiar. His sister Angelika Aguiar Drew is married to Corey Drew, whom Scherer calls "one of [Guma's] insiders all along."
"Angelika and Corey have indicated that they want to move or have moved to the Netherlands. They're trying to avoid us, taking this deposition and being subject to Florida court," Scherer said. "So she filed this affidavit and then we are wondering, 'What's the Netherlands?'"
After looking into the Netherlands, Scherer claims he discovered that another one of Aguiar's "very close business associates" has also relocated to the Netherlands. Scherer declined to give the associate's name, but the information has left him baffled.
"Why are they all going to the Netherlands? What's going on there? We haven't been able to get them under oath to ask them," he said. "This all may be a coincidence, but it may not be."
Police have investigated Aguiar's disappearance as a missing person case. While some have suggested that the financially and mentally troubled millionaire may have committed suicide, no body has been found. There have also not been any reported sightings of Aguiar.
"There's all sorts of possibilities that could play in here," Fort Lauderdale Police Det. Travis Mandell told "Good Morning America" in July. "We don't know exactly what occurred out there on the ocean."
"With [Aguiar's] amount of means and what he is able to do, it would be quite easy for him to stage his own disappearance, and it would be very difficult for us to find him," Mandell said.
The U.S. Coast Guard's search for Aguiar found nothing, but Jamie Aguiar will continue to search for her husband, according to ABC News' Miami affiliate WPLG-TV.
Experts who examined GPS data from Aguiar's boat have said it could suggest a scenario in which he jumped ship and boarded a waiting boat mid-sea.
When asked if there are any other indications that Aguar could be alive, Scherer said, "I can't say. There's more stuff."
"Look, we're trying very hard to represent this lady and those children," he said. "We're trying to learn everything we can learn. We're being stonewalled by the family, and we're trying to do the best we can within the facts that we have at hand."
Could Missing Millionaire Guma Aguiar Be Alive?
The attorney for Aguiar's mother did not immediately respond to request for comment. Corey and Angelika Drew could not be reached for comment.
With the holiday season upon Jamie Aguiar and her four children, Scherer said that the Netherlands connection gives her hope.
"It gives my client hope that her husband is still alive, which if he is still alive, that's wonderful, but if he's not, that's a terrible thing to drag her through," Scherer said. "It's just a tough situation for the young lady. She's holding up great but it's not easy. Things like this are tough on her and her kids."
Jamie Aguiar has put her large home up for sale along with the family's boat.
"Jamie wants to sell. She wants to get away from the memories of it," Scherer said. "At the same time, she's faced with looking at litigation that's going on that may impoverish the whole family."
Guma Aguiar's federal case against his uncle Thomas Kaplan is set to begin in March; the two are in a nasty legal battle over the division of assets after the $2.5 billion sale of their Texas-based energy company. A conservator has been appointed to stand in for Aguiar.
In the meantime, Scherer is left puzzled by what it means that one of Aguiar's two sisters is relocating to the Netherlands and "avoiding" her legal responsibilities.
"The two sisters would be claimants if Guma is deceased. If he died on that night, the sisters are beneficiaries under the estate," he said. "You're wondering, why are they trying to run up all these expenses for the estate? They're diminishing their own share. And then you wonder, if that's so, maybe he's not dead. I don't know. And we don't know. It's a lot of speculation, but it's worrisome."