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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Jewish Billionaire Guma Aguiar Missing After Empty Boat Washes Ashore

Guma and Jaime aguiar

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A search is under way for a boater whose vessel came ashore on Fort Lauderdale beach in the early morning hours Wednesday.

Missing is Guma Aguiar, 35, of Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale Police and the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Aguiar is a businessman who made a fortune in oil and gas interests. He is also a philanthropist who has contributed millions to Jewish and Israeli charities and in 2009, co-sponsored a soccer team there called Beitar Jerusalem.

Aguiar's 31-foot, center console Jupiter boat, the T.T. Zion, a tender for the yacht Zion, landed on the sand east of East Las Olas Boulevard around 1:15 a.m. Wednesday, with its navigation lights on and engines still running, police said.

Good Samaritans reported the beaching of the boat, officials said.

The Coast Guard said it matched Aguiar's vessel to another report, that Aguiar took his boat out at approximately 7 p.m. Tuesday and had not returned.

Aguiar's wife Jaime Aguiar told Fort Lauderdale Police that she is concerned for her husband's safety, Detective Travis Mandell said Wednesday.

She arrived home Tuesday and believed her husband was in his home office, Mandell said. She told investigators an employee of the couple told her that her husband went out on his boat around 7:30 that night, and had not been seen since.

The Coast Guard, Broward Sheriff's and Fort Lauderdale Police marine units are searching area waterways and three miles offshore, between Lauderdale-by-the-Sea and Port Everglades, officials said.

One of Aguiar's attorneys, Fred Haddad, said his client is knowledgeable about boats.

"I'm just kind of dumbfounded," said Haddad when he learned about the missing person report. "I really like the guy. He's as nice as they come."

Fort Lauderdale Police also searched the beach aboard ATVs, Mandell said.

Before dawn, Aguiar's boat was pulled from the sand into the ocean by SeaTow for storage at its Fort Lauderdale warehouse.

Anyone with information regarding Guma's whereabouts is urged to contact the Fort Lauderdale Police Department at 954-828-5700 or contact the nearest Coast Guard unit.

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