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Saturday, 25 August, 2001, 00:35 GMT 01:35 UK
Portuguese murdered in Brazil
The beach at Fortaleza
Fortaleza is one of Brazil's largest holiday resorts
The bodies of six Portuguese businessmen missing in Brazil have been discovered underneath a nightclub in the north-eastern city of Fortaleza.

The six, who disappeared shortly after their arrival in Brazil nearly two weeks ago, were found covered with bullet and stab wounds, and had been buried under a layer of cement.


The bodies were piled on top of each other and in a state of decomposition

Police spokeswoman Vania Rocha
Police uncovered the bodies after arresting the owner of the nightclub, Luiz Miguel Miltao Guerreiro.

Mr Guerreiro is reported to have confessed to the murders and revealed where he had dumped his victims.

The six men were filmed on short-circuit TV cameras arriving at the airport at Fortaleza, a popular resort, where they were met by Mr Guerreiro.

Portuguese Shock

Police say a daughter of one of the executives had recommended him to the Portuguese men, who are believed to have worked in the building trade.

Mr Guerreiro, a 31-year-old businessman, is reported to be heavily in debt.

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres
Prime Minister Antonio Guterres : "Profound shock"
Several other people, including his wife, have also been arrested in connection with the murders.

"The bodies were piled on top of each other and in a state of decomposition," police spokeswoman Vania Rocha told the Associated Press news agency.

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres has spoken of his "profound shock" at the news, while the Brazilian foreign ministry has issued a statement saying it "sincerely regrets" the murders.

Big spender

Police said Luis Miguel Guerreiro had been using the missing men's credit cards and is said to have already spent more than $10,000.

He has a criminal record in Portugal, where he received a prison term in 1996 for a robbery, they said.

The BBC's Sao Paulo correspondent Jan Rocha says police also suspect that the nightclub where the bodies were found was used for prostitution, possibly involving the traffic of women to Europe.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jan Rocha in Sao Paulo
"The police say they had been killed with considerable violence"
See also:

09 Jun 00 | Americas
Brazil airport thieves snatch $1.7m
22 Mar 00 | Americas
Rio de Janeiro gets tough on guns
19 Jun 99 | Americas
New Brazilian police chief resigns
04 Nov 99 | Americas
Two die in Brazilian cinema shooting
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