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Cryptocurrency ransom sought after suspected kidnapping of Norwegian woman

10 January 2019

The Halloween-day kidnapping of the Norwegian tycoon Tom Hagen's wife has taken a quirky turn as police have revealed that the tech-savvy kidnappers are demanding payment in cryptocurrency. The police have also recommended the family not to pay the ransom that was requested in exchange for the promise that she would be released.

He said police had no suspects so far.

Broske at the Eastern Police District said the way Mrs Falkevik Hagen was abducted suggested "that these are professional offenders".

Quoting unnamed sources, Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang reported that the unidentified plotters-whether they are holding Hagen or not-have demanded a ransom of just over $10 million in the Monero cryptocurrency.

The house of Norwegian multi-millionaire Tom Hagen is pictured in Fjellhamar, east of Oslo, Norway, on January 9, 2019.

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.

The missing woman's husband, Tom Hagen, 68, is Norway's 172nd richest man, according to the magazine Kapital, with an estimated fortune of 1.7 billion kroner (174 million euros, $200 million).

Police have been "on the case for several weeks".

Chief police investigator Tommy Broeske said one of the men was seen walking on a road before turning around and going back down the road immediately.

"Our goal is to find the woman alive and reunite her with the family", Mr Broske said.

Family lawyer Svein Holden described Hagen's disappearance as "a cruel and inhumane act".

According to VG, a note written in poor Norwegian was left at Hagen's home warning that she would die if police were alerted.

The NRK broadcaster reported that the couple are known for a "secluded lifestyle" centered on their countryside home. Broeske said they were working with Europol and Interpol on the case.

"We still have no suspects", he said.

Kidnappings are extremely rare in the Scandinavian nation, which has 5.3 million people and prides itself on low crime rates.

Cryptocurrency ransom sought after suspected kidnapping of Norwegian woman