Bia Figueiredo linked with embezzlement case in Brazil
The husband and father-in-law of former IndyCar and Stock Car Brasil driver Bia Figueiredo, also sometimes known as Ana Beatriz, have been arrested and charged during an investigation into embezzlement in Rio de Janeiro.
Last Thursday, the District Attorney’s Office for the Rio de Janeiro state started an operation focused on accusations concerning money embezzlement from the state’s Health Department. The police made several arrests including Figueiredo’s husband Fábio Souza, and her father-in-law Juracy Batista.
They have been charged with embezzling more than 9 million reais (around $1.64m) through the Lagos Rio Health Institute. According to the D.A, Bia’s company, B3Três, had received over 1.5 million reais, part of which was used to finance her Stock Car career.
According to the investigation, Batista and Souza were central pieces in the operation. The D.A. also stated that part of the money was used to finance the wedding between Figueiredo and Souza in January 2016. Even though her name is connected to the case, the D.A says that Bia isn’t part of the investigation, since the company was controlled by her husband.
Hours after the scandal broke, the Ipiranga Racing Stock Car team announced that her contract was suspended until the end of the investigation. Bia is currently taking a leave from racing due to her pregnancy, currently in its eighth month. In the 2020 Stock Car season, postponed by the Covid-19 pandemic, she is temporarily replaced by Cesar Ramos.
On Thursday, Figueiredo deleted her profiles on social media, due to the messeges received and because her personal photos were being used by the media. In a statement made to Rede Globo’s Jornal Nacional, Bia said that she wasn’t aware of the details of the case and insisted that she isn’t involved with the family business. She also stated that her current focus was the health of her baby and herself.
In 2008, Figueiredo became the first woman to win an Indy Lights race, and she went on to finish third in that year’s championship driving for Sam Schmidt Motorsports. Following another win in ’09, she graduated to IndyCar, first part-time then full-time with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.
Since 2014, Figueiredo has been racing in Stock Car Brasil, although she was also part of the Heinricher Racing with Meyer Shank Racing squad in IMSA’s endurance events.
by Guilherme Longo