Kidnappers demand ransom for Norwegian billionaire's wife

Cheryl Sanders
January 10, 2019

Police have been "on the case for several weeks", but have no suspects, Broeske told a news conference.

Newspaper Aftenposten first broke the news of the kidnapping on Wednesday, saying it had known for some time about the case but opted not to publish a story to protect Anne-Elisabeth.

The cautious nature of the remarks could be an indication that police have not received proof that Hagen was indeed being held by the people demanding the ransom.

Norwegian tabloid Verdens Gang, quoting unnamed sources, reported that a ransom demand corresponding to €9m had been made, payable in the Monero cryptocurrency.

Norwegian police believe that the 68-year-old was taken from her home in Sloraveien, with forensics teams analysing traces of the kidnappers in the bathroom of Hagen's detached house.

The estimated value of the family is estimated to be around $199 million, and are listed as the 172nd richest family in the country by Norway's financial Magazine, Kapital.

Mr Broeske said those behind the kidnap have chosen to communicate digitally and officers have had no other form of contact.

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 kidnappers are said to have asked for the ransom to be paid in cryptocurrency Monero, which can be sent and received anonymously.

Broske added during an appeal for help to the public: 'A ransom demand and serious threats have been issued.

"As the case now stands, police have advised the family not to settle the claim", Tommy Broske, head of the investigation unit, said. We have no suspects in this case'.

Police wouldn't divulge the size of the demand.

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.

The police statement said the main hypothesis "has always been that the woman was abducted against her will" and that "extensive" forensic work has been carried out at the home.

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