No Sign of Hidden Cash for Vanishing Millionaire
An audit of missing millionaire Guma Aguiar’s finances has found little evidence that he hid cash or “tunneled out” part of his fortune before his disappearance, according to an attorney.
William Scherer, the lawyer representing Aguiar’s wife, said an audit going back to January showed no systematic transfers or major withdrawls to fund a possible life in hiding.
“We don’t see any evidence that he was putting money aside or setting aside funds” for a new life, Scherer said.
The question of Aguiar’s possible cash hoard has taken on new importance amid recent speculation that he may have staged his death.
The 35-year-old Aguiar, who had a fortune of more than $100 milllion from selling his oil-and-gas business, vanished on the night of June 19 after taking his 31-foot boat out to sea. The boat drifted back to shore empty.
Police are investigating the disappearance as a missing-persons case. Initially, most of the speculation centered around a possible suicide or accident in which Aguilar fell off the boat during rough seas.
A new analyss of GPS data from the boat led one expert to speculate that Aguiar may have jumped onto another boat and escaped. Police, however, said there is no evidence that the boat came to a complete stop.
Aguiar was battling mental illness and costly litigation with his uncle. His mother, Ellen, is making a claim to control his $100 million in assets. Northern Trust is now overseeing the bulk of the assets to provide income for Aguiar’s family.
He and his wife had marital troubles in 2011, when he filed for divorce. But Scherer said the two had reconciled before his death.
Guma Aguiar had four kids and was a generous donor to Jewish and Isreali causes. Scherer said that Aguiar often spent wildly during his trips to Israel. For instance, he would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on personal security.
While Scherer said there is a remote chance that his spending in Israel was channeled to a special account for a life in hiding, he said Auiar was often in a psychotic or manic state during these spending binges.
“It certainly doesn’t look like” he was hoarding cash for later, the lawyer said.
-By CNBC's Robert Frank
Follow Robert Frank on Twitter: @robtfrank