Cyber-criminals have demanded a €9 million cryptocurrency ransom for a missing 68-year-old woman in Norway, according to local news outlet VG.
Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen, who is married to one of Norway’s richest men, has been missing since October 31st. The case has been kept quiet by the media over the past 10 weeks over fears that coverage could cause harm to the missing woman.
In addition to investigations by local police, Interpol and Europol are now also looking into the case, although they have received “no signs of life” from Hagen since her disappearance in October.
Norwegian police believe that the 68-year-old was taken from her home in Sloraveien, with forensics teams analysing traces of the kidnappers in the bathroom of Hagen’s detached house.
Aside from the ransom, a written message was found in the house stating that if the police were to be notified, the woman would be killed.
Monero used in coded ransom message
The ransom demands €9 million payable in privacy coin Monero, which would account for 1% of the coin’s total market cap.
Dette er Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen https://t.co/qEtU5mvsKO
— VG (@vgnett) January 9, 2019
While Monero is a favourite among cyber-criminals due to its anonymity, the fact that Monero would eventually need to be cashed out to fiat could compromise the identity of the kidnappers.
Kidnapping victim married to one of Norway’s richest men
Falkevik Hagen, who originally hails from Hadeland, has three adult children and several grandchildren after marrying Tom Hagen.
Tom Hagen is on Kapital’s list of Norway’s 400 richest men, having made his wealth through the purchase and sale of electricity as well as housing development. His estimated wealth is around 1.7 billion Norwegian Krona.
Cryptocurrency crimes on the rise?
This isn’t the first time a cryptocurrency case has rocked Scandinavian countries. Swedish citizen Makaveli Linden was arrested after murdering Heikki Bjørklund Paltto in Oslo, with the motive reported to be Paltto’s Bitcoin wealth.
Norwegian police are expected to hold a press conference at 11am local time on Wednesday January 9th.
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