A spy in a Rio hotel!
The Orla was born from the acquisition and renovation of the old Hotel Riviera, an icon form Copacabana Beach in the 30´s of the last century, on which there is an interesting historical curiosity:
On September 27, 1938, Franz Gruber becomes a partner of the Riviera Hotel (now Orla Hotel) , one of the largest buildings of the Atlantica avenue, at the time but ... who was Gruber?
The fake passport in the name of Franz Paul Gruber, was intended to hide the identity of Johnny de Graaf, a German spy sent by the Soviets to monitor and assist in the preparation of a communist revolution in Brazil. His commitment to this mission, also false, belied the other purpose of the trip: act as a secret service agent from the Britain MI6 - a double agent, so - informing on the movement of the communists.
From Russia came instructions for Brazilian Communists, and Johnny conveyed them to his superior, Alfred Hutt. This, in turn, communicated with the British Embassy, who then headed the information to their final destination: the Brazilian president, Getulio Vargas to whom were revealed the plans of the Brazilian communist leader, Luiz Carlos Prestes. frustrating the revolution attempt.
The investigation carried out by the Soviets could not incriminate De Graaf. Thus, in 1938, he was sent to the new mission in Brazil: The enemies then were the Nazis.
After the spy had telegraphed to London the location of two German ships in Santos, the British Royal Navy sank them, in the La Plata river estuary.
The Nazis wanted revenge, and a good victim would be...Johnny! Exposing his communist past to the Brazilian authorities, his arrest order came directly from the minister of Defense - and future president - Eurico Gaspar Dutra.
Accused of spying for the Soviet Union, Johnny was tortured for several nights until one of the cruisers who had sun down the German ships made a "courtesy visit" to Rio de Janeiro: London wanted his man free.
The british convinced the Brazilian government to leave the Soviets believe that his agent had died in prison, and Johnny was forced to leave Brazil. and departure to London in February 1940. There, a new name was waiting, along with new tasks for MI6.
Johnny died in 1980 at the age of 86 in Canada. After using 69 different names and passports, the "ex-hotel-spy" was then called John Henry de Graaf