Judge driving billionaire's Porsche claimed he was keeping it safe

Porsche Cayenne

A judge in charge of the trial of one of Brazil's richest men has been caught driving one of the billionaire's seized cars after a tip-off from the businessman's lawyer. Judge Flavio Roberto de Souza has been overseeing criminal proceedings against entrepreneur Eike Batista, who used to hold the title of being Brazil's most wealthy man.

During the trial over alleged insider trading, a number of the tycoon's cars were seized by police earlier this month after a court order was imposed upon him. This followed concerns that Batista had been selling or giving away assets that had been frozen as part of the lawsuit. However, judge Souza was spotted by reporters from news agency Estado de S.Paulo driving a white Porsche Cayenne owned by the billionaire.

According to the Telegraph, when quizzed by local business publication Valor Economico, Mr Souza said: "The Federal Police did not have a safe place for the car and it was exposed to sun, rain and possible damage. As I want the car to be preserved in good condition, I took it to a covered parking space [in the building where I live].

"I did not take it to use, just to look after it...It is a normal situation."

Batista's cars had been intended to go up for auction last Thursday, however, his lawyer managed to arrange an injunction to stop the sale.

Following the judge being spotted in Batista's car, the businessman's lawyer is likely to have more evidence to support his claims that Mr Souza had been biased against the billionaire at the start of the trial in November, when he told reporters that Batista's career had been a 'megalomaniac dream', reports the Telegraph.

Though the businessman has previously been Brazil's richest man, his flagship company filed for the largest-ever bankruptcy in Latin America in 2013.