Kidnappers demand €9 million cryptocurrency ransom for wealthy Norwegian woman

Wife of Norwegian billionaire kidnapped – ransom to be paid in monero

Tom Hagen returned home on October 31 to find his wife Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen missing and a ransom note, written in bad Norwegian, threatening to kill her unless he made a payment of €9 million in the crypto currency Monero.

The wife's suspected kidnappers have demanded $10.3 million to be paid in Monero, a type of cryptocurrency, Norwegian tabloid Verdens Gang reported, quoting unnamed sources.

"The family sees this as a cruel and inhumane act", lawyer Svein Holden told reporters.

It said Mrs Hagen appeared to have been abducted from the bathroom of her home and that there had been "limited dialogue" with the alleged kidnappers over the internet.

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 ($200 million) in 2018, according to Norwegian news agency NTB. He made his multi-millions in the real estate and energy industries.

Police believe she disappeared from the couple's home, some 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the Swedish border.

Many Norwegian media outlets knew of Mrs Falkevik Hagen's disappearance but did not publish any details after the police warned against publicising the kidnap over fears the attackers would harm the victim.

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Police have received no proof that the woman is alive "but we haven't received any indication that she isn't alive either", Brøske said.

Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen, 68, has been missing since October 31, chief investigator Tommy Broeske revealed on Wednesday, with police saying she was abducted "against her will".

"Despite a broad and extensive investigation, we need more information", he continued. Broeske declined to comment other than saying "the threats (in the note) were of a very serious character".

Investigators refused to confirm that amount but said they advised the family not to pay the purported kidnappers.

The couple lived "a rather anonymous lifestyle", according to Norwegian broadcaster NRK. Norwegian police have also engaged worldwide counterparts in Interpol and Europol as part of the probe.

Such events are extremely rare in the Scandinavian country, which enjoys a generally low crime rate.