Jose Rosado, an American-born shipping tycoon, was fatally poisoned and robbed by a group of men he invited to his hotel room to have sex with, according to foreign authorities. 

When Rosado, 42, was found dead by staff at the Westin Palace Hotel in Madrid in October, authorities said he had died of natural causes. Now, the Spanish National Police believe he was deliberately poisoned by the “two or three” men he brought back to his room. 

Spanish officials have arrested a 39-year-old Romanian and a 29-year-old Moroccan national in connection with the alleged killing. The pair reportedly have a long criminal history and have been accused of “similar events” in the past, authorities said. 

Each has been charged with murder, violent robbery, and fraud, according to reports. 

Jose Rosado Poisoned in Madrid, Police Say

Officials with the Spanish National Police said Rosado, the former CEO of a European shipyard who is originally from the U.S., was found dead at the Westin Palace on October 29 by hotel staff. 

His partner in Florida contacted the hotel after being unable to make contact with Rosado. 

Originally, investigators suspected no foul play in the 42-year-old’s death. 

Police found American tycoon Jose Rosado dead at this Madrid hotel in October.
Police found American tycoon Jose Rosado dead at this Madrid hotel in October. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Hotel surveillance footage showed Rosado returning to his room that night with “two or three” men, but his body reportedly showed no signs of trauma, and there was no clear evidence of a struggle in the “disheveled” hotel room. Police told local reporters that the wealthy tycoon died of natural causes. 

Even after a medical examination found deadly quantities of liquid ecstasy in Rosado’s body, officials believed the death was accidental. 

The scope of the inquiry was expanded only after investigators concluded Rosado had been robbed while in Madrid. In speaking with his partner in Florida, police established the 42-year-old had brought valuable items with him to Spain that were missing from his hotel room. 

Suspects in Custody 

After a weeks-long criminal investigation, the Spanish National Police determined Monday that Rosado was killed in a “chemical submission” attack. 

Two unnamed foreign nationals were remanded into police custody in connection with the death: a 39-year-old Romanian man and a 29-year-old Moroccan man. Police believe the two went shopping with their alleged victim’s credit card, corroborating their involvement in his robbery — if not his death. 

In the end, investigators believe the men agreed to go home with the wealthy American under the pretense of an orgy. When they arrived at the hotel, police suspect, they drugged Rosado and made off with a laundry list of valuable items: €2,500 in cash, brand new cellphones, computer equipment, jewelry, and documents which may have been used to commit fraud. 

Spanish investigators believe two foreign nationals poisoned and robbed American-born CEO Jose Rosado in Madrid.
Spanish investigators believe two foreign nationals poisoned and robbed American-born CEO Jose Rosado in Madrid. Pictured are Spanish police searching the home of a suspect charged with the murder. Photo credit: Spanish National Police

DNA evidence left behind in the Madrid hotel room ultimately linked the foreign nationals to Rosado’s death, Spanish National Police said. 

Authorities said the pair have been arrested almost 30 times altogether, including “similar events” in the past. It’s not clear if either has ever been convicted on any criminal charges. Now, both men are charged with homicide, robbery by use of force, and credit card fraud, according to reports. 

Jose Rosado, a wealthy American CEO, died after he was drugged and robbed in Madrid, Spanish police said.
Jose Rosado, a wealthy American CEO, died after he was drugged and robbed in Madrid, Spanish police said. Photo credit: Facebook

Alleged Victim Was High-Profile CEO

The Daily Mail reported that Rosado was the CEO of Hijos de J. Barreras, a shipbuilding and yacht-making firm that makes $30 million yearly, before he stepped down from the position in 2020. 

The late tycoon was born in New Jersey and grew up in Puerto Rico, the report added. He rose through the business world, working at various times in shipping, energy and finance, and had lived in Argentina and Great Britain, in addition to Spain and the United States.