Cryptocurrency ransom sought after suspected kidnapping of Norwegian woman

Monero [XMR], a popular privacy coin in the market, is in the limelight as the cryptocurrency is demanded as ransom by kidnappers in Norway.

Chief investigator Tommy Broeske said 68-year-old Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen has been missing since October 31.

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

Hagen's husband, Tom, was ranked number 172 in financial magazine Kapital's list of Norway's top 400 richest people. It is the country's first kidnap for crypto ransom.

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. Broeske declined to comment other than saying "the threats (in the note) were of a very serious character".

Since the end of October previous year, Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen, wife of Norwegian billionaire Tom Hagen, has been missing.

At centre, a view of the home of Norwegian billionaire Tom Hagen and his wife Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen in Fjellhamar.

The ransom payment was requested in the cryptocurrency monero to make it harder to trace a transaction, dailies Aftenposten and VG reported.

Svein Holden, Hagen's lawyer, told reporters the abduction was "a cruel and an inhuman act".

As a result, investigators on the case are still left with "no suspects", despite having assistance from Interpol and Europol, and have Hagen's wealth behind them. "It is demanding and exhausting to be in such a situation over a long period of time", he said.

There is no evidence Mrs Falkevik Hagen has been harmed since she disappeared, but officers have also not received any "proof of life", police said.

Norwegian police confirmed that "a woman in her late 60s is believed to have been kidnapped from her home in Lorenskog", around 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Oslo, but did not disclose her identity.

Investigators refused to comment on that report, but said worldwide police were cooperating on the case.

  • Rogelio Becker