U.S. Jewish Energy Mogul Guma Aguiar Goes Missing Off U.S. Coast

Former patron of Beitar Jerusalem soccer club missing after his boat washes ashore in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Moshe Harush
Tal Ben Ezra
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Moshe Harush
Tal Ben Ezra

Rescue workers and family fear for the life of millionaire tycoon Guma Aguiar, whose empty boat was discovered early Wednesday on the Fort Lauderdale shore in Florida.

Aguiar, the owner of Hapoel Jerusalem’s basketball team and a supporter of Beitar Jerusalem, apparently took his vessel out Tuesday evening and ran into stormy weather, Hapoel announced in a statement Wednesday. After he failed to return, his wife, Jamie, reported his disappearance, and the U.S. Coast Guard began searching for his boat.

The guard found the boat early this morning abandoned along a dangerous beach. The motor was running and the lights of the vessel were on. Intensive searches continued as of press time, according to an announcement issued by Lior Horev, an official for Hapoel Jerusalem. CBS News publicized telephone numbers the public could call with information.

Brazilian-born Aguiar made his fortune finding natural gas in Texas. He earned fame in Israel when he helped bail out Beitar Jerusalem in the summer of 2009 and became its sponsor, just days after Beitar owner Arcady Gaydamak announced he would stop funding the team. He also supported basketball in the capital.

Aguiar made a bizarre claim last year that he had crossed the Gaza border and tried to release captured soldier Gilad Shalit, after which he was hospitalized in a psychiatric ward. His family vetoed his continued involvement in Beitar. After his release, he returned to Florida for a prolonged recovery.

Two months into the recovery, Aguiar returned to Israel with new ambitions in the Israeli sport. This time, it was Hapoel Jerusalem’s basketball team, which he sought to buy from the association headed by Danny Klein. He signed a deal in September to buy 60 percent of the club, making him the controlling owner.

Guma Aguiar at a press conference in Jerusalem in February, 2011. Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

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