Kidnappers in Norway demand $10M Monero ransom for millionaire's wife

Kidnappers in Norway demand $10M Monero ransom for millionaire's wife

Cryptocurrency crimes on the rise? Now it seems as if a mysterious suspected kidnapping in Norway has just taken an unexpected cryptocurrency-related turn.

Police have so far kept the investigation into her disappearance under wraps according to VG, because threats were made regarding the involvement of the police and media.

Multi-millionaire real estate investor Tom Hagen is listed among Norway's richest men, however, his wealth has unfortunately made him and his family a target for cyber criminals. He found the house empty, barring a letter written in spelling error-riddled Norwegian.

Although Falkevik Hagen disappeared more than two months ago, it reached the public for the first time today.

Police were scheduled to hold a press conference later Wednesday. The criminals only communicate over the internet, and have shown no evidence of Falkevik Hagen's well being. This has reportedly forced authorities to investigate the case in secret, supported by Interpol and the national police.

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Norwegian police had asked the media to stay silent on the kidnap, but on Wednesday decided to make it public in the hope that neighbours, or people hiking in the area, may have seen or recorded something that could help lead to the attackers.

It is unclear whether Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen is still alive. Police have received no signs whether Falkevik Hagen was still alive, "but we haven't either received any sign that she is not alive", he added.

Hagen is number 172 on a list of Norway's wealthiest people published by the financial magazine Kapital, with a fortune estimated to be almost 1.7 billion kroner (£156million) in 2018.

He said officers had been working on the case for several weeks and have urged the family not to pay the ransom.

The reasoning behind requesting the ransom to be paid in Monero likely stems from the cryptocurrency's anonymous nature. It has always been speculated to be a favorite of cyber-criminals, as its privacy features disable the ability for investigators to link cryptocurrency transactions to individuals in any meaningful way.

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