Police issue arrest warrant for former partner of Cecilia Haddad

Cecilia Haddad.
Cecilia Haddad.

THE former partner of Cecilia Haddad, whose fully clothed body was found in a Sydney river two months ago, is wanted for questioning by Australian police.

NSW Police have secured a warrant for the arrest of Mario Marcelo Santoro who flew back to Brazil the same weekend the 38-year-old was found floating in the Lane Cove River.

The warrant means NSW Police would charge Mr Santoro with murder if he was in Australia.

Ms Haddad, who was born in Brazil, lived in Perth from 2007 until 2016, when she relocated to Sydney.

Mr Santoro is a prime suspect in the investigation, however, the NSW warrant doesn’t guarantee Brazilian authorities will hand him over to face charges in Australia.

The warrant puts the Australian government in a position to negotiate with Brazilian counterparts to bring Mr Santoro to justice over the murder of one its own citizens in Australia.

Australia and Brazil have a long-standing extradition treaty that would nominally pave the way for Mr Santoro to be brought back to Australia.

However, the process could be complicated because Brazilian authorities generally do not act upon orders for a citizen to be extradited to face alleged offences committed in foreign countries on constitutional grounds.

“The Australian government does not disclose whether it has made, or intends to make, an extradition request to a foreign country until the person is arrested or brought before the court in a foreign country,” the federal Attorney-General Department said in a statement on Wednesday.

NSW Police are also are not in a position to comment on the investigation at this stage, a spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday.

Kayakers discovered Ms Haddad’s fully-clothed body in the Sydney river near Woolwich on April 29, about the same time her former live-in lover Mario Marcelo Santoro flew back home to Rio de Janeiro.

Investigators confirmed in May that Ms Haddad had asked Mr Santoro to move out of her Ryde apartment, in Sydney’s northwest in the weeks before her death.

Brazilian-born Ms Haddad arrived in Australia more than a decade ago and had moved to Sydney in 2016 where she worked in mining and logistics.

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