Published: Thu, January 10, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Millionaire's Wife 'Kidnapped,' Cryptocurrency Ransom Request Received

Millionaire's Wife 'Kidnapped,' Cryptocurrency Ransom Request Received

"As the case now stands, police have advised the family not to settle the claim", Tommy Broske, head of the investigation unit, said.

"There's no doubt that for the family, Anne-Elisabeth's kidnapping is a frightful and inhumane act", he said, expressing hopes that news of her disappearance would lead to some kind of sign that she is alive.

Police had no indication whether Falkevik Hagen was dead or alive.

The ransom payment was requested in the cryptocurrency monero to make it harder to trace a transaction, dailies Aftenposten and VG reported.

The home (in center) of Norwegian billionaire Tom Hagen and his wife Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen in Fjellhamar. She's been missing for 10 weeks and is believed to have been kidnapped.

Svein Holden, Hagen's lawyer, told reporters the abduction was "a cruel and an inhuman act".

He is number 172 on a list of Norway's wealthiest people published by the financial magazine Kapital, with a fortune that amounted to almost 1.7 billion kroner (US$200 million) in 2018, according to Norwegian news agency NTB.

The wife of a Norwegian multimillionaire missing since October 31, 2018 probably has been kidnapped, police said Wednesday, adding that her suspected abductors have demanded a ransom reported to be over $10 million.

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Chief investigator Tommy Broeske, however, chose to "go public", because they "need more information" to help track down the criminals and bring Falkevik Hagen home safely.

Police and Norwegian media initially kept her disappearance quiet but detectives appealed for information yesterday.

"We have not known anything comparable in this country", said Broske.

NRK says the couple live a "secluded lifestyle" in Lorenskog, east of Oslo, describing Tom Hagen as "media-shy and private".

Chief police investigator Tommy Broeske said one of the men was seen walking on a road before turning around and going back down the road immediately.

Europol and Interpol have been connected, Norwegian police said at a press conference yesterday.

"As in all serious criminal cases, time is an important factor, and we rely on help us find the missing woman".

Kidnappings are rare in Norway, a Scandinavian nation of 5.3 million that prides itself on low crime rates.

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