Although 68-year-old Anne-Elisabeth Hagen was reported missing from her home near Oslo months ago, police had chosen to keep everything under wraps until now due to “very serious threats” made by the kidnappers. After a “broad and extensive investigation” came up dry, police have resorted to asking the public for help with the case, despite the potential danger.
“Our goal is to find the woman alive and reunite her with the family. As in all serious criminal cases, time is an important factor,” the statement reads.
The kidnappers are demanding $10 million dollars in exchange for Haden’s release, which they want paid in the cryptocurrency monero. This method of payment would theoretically, and unnervingly, allow the kidnappers to receive the money easily and anonymously, avoiding marked bills or other hazards the traditional ransomer had to contend with.
The abducted woman’s husband is one of Norway’s wealthiest men, with an estimated net-worth of $200 million dollars accumulated from the real-estate and energy markets.
Local media reports that despite their fortune, the couple lived “modestly,” choosing a “secluded” and “private” life over the limelight, which was unfortunately not enough to keep them off the criminals’ radar. While they had tried to avoid the press, police believe that an article published in 2017 on Hagen’s rapidly increasing wealth may have given the kidnappers the idea for the crime.
Although perhaps ahead of the curve, the ransomers are not the first to demand a cryptocurrency ransom. In December 2017, a Russian cryptocurrency executive paid a million dollars in bitcoin to his masked captors after being being kidnapped at gunpoint in Ukraine.
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