Crypto-currency ransom demand for Norwegian multi-millionaire’s wife
Tom Hagen’s wife disappeared in October, and now the kidnappers want €9m in the crypto-currency monero
Police say a ransom demand has been received for the missing wife of a Norwegian multi-millionaire 10 weeks after she disappeared on Halloween, a senior officer said on Wednesday.
Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen, married to a real estate and energy magnate, disappeared on October 31, police said.
Detectives had been investigating the case discreetly for several weeks but decided to make it public on Wednesday in the hope that someone would come forward with information.
“A ransom demand and serious threats have been issued,” Inspector Tommy Brøske told reporters. “Our main theory is that the victim was kidnapped by unidentified perpetrators at her home” in Lørenskog, about 20km from Oslo, he said.
The authorities have received no sign of life from the woman, “but we haven’t received any indication that she isn’t alive either”, Brøske said. Investigators say they have no suspects at this stage.
According to daily Verdens Gang, the ransom demand was for €9m in the crypto-currency monero. Crypto-currencies are hard to trace. Police refused to confirm the sum but said they had advised the family not to pay.
Such incidents are extremely rare in the wealthy Scandinavian country, which enjoys a generally low crime rate.
Brøske said investigators have had “very limited” contact with the self-described kidnappers online, but refused to disclose the date of the most recent contact.
Norway’s 172nd richest
A housewife, Hagen is married to Tom Hagen, Norway’s 172nd richest man, according to the magazine Kapital, with an estimated fortune of 1.7-billion kroner (€174m). The real estate investor owns 70% of electricity company Elkraft, which he co-founded in 1992, Norwegian media reported.
While he keeps a low profile, Tom Hagen has been the subject of news articles about his business success. A lawyer for the family said they had not paid the ransom. “The family decided to follow the police advice,” Svein Holden told reporters.
According to Verdens Gang, a note written in poor Norwegian was left at Hagen’s home warning that she would die if police were involved in her disappearance.
Investigators refused to comment on that report, but said international police are co-operating on the case.