The wife of one of Norway’s wealthiest businessmen has been kidnapped by a person or persons demanding a ransom of 9 million euros paid in Monero, the most popular privacy cryptocurrency, according to several local news outlets.
Anne Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen (68) has reportedly been missing for 10 weeks, but the news has only become known to the public today due to fears for what might happen to her if the word of her disappearance got out. According to the local VG newspaper, the kidnappers left a written note in the couple’s home saying the woman would be killed if the police got involved.
Due to the sensitivity of the operation, the police have been forced to keep an extremely low profile while investigating the case. This has reportedly prevented the police from searching for the kidnappers as aggressively as they would normally have done, while also limiting their ability to gather evidence in the vicinity of the couple’s residence outside of Oslo.
The missing woman’s husband, Tom Hagen, is listed as the 172nd wealthiest person in Norway, with a net worth of 1.7 billion kroner, or about USD 200 million. He has reportedly earned his fortune through property investments and trading in the electricity market.
Monero demanded as ransom
Launched in 2014 with a mission to protect the users from having their transactions traced, Monero is well-known as a virtually anonymous cryptocurrency. Among the technologies deployed are ring signatures and stealth addresses, enabling more secure and almost untraceable transactions. For these reasons, Monero has become the preferred cryptocurrency for both individuals concerned with their online privacy and criminals alike.
Over the past 24 hours, the trading volume in the Monero market across all exchanges was just around 17 million euros, which means that a purchase of 9 million euros worth of Monero (XMR 191,898) would need to be carried out over time. Even then, a purchase of that size via an exchange (and not via an OTC (over the counter) desk) might significantly move the relatively small Monero market.
Monero price chart: