Today it was revealed that the kidnappers of the wife of one of the richest people in Norway have demanded their ransom in Monero. Possibly, they have chosen this cryptoactive to avoid tracking the funds.
According to local media , Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen, wife of Tom Hagen, disappeared from his residence in the Romerike Traditional District on October 31, 2018. To this day, the press was not authorized to disseminate information to the public about the alleged kidnapping. The Norwegian police carry out this investigation hand in hand with Interpol and Europol.
The media reports that the kidnappers have had little contact with Hagen. In addition, they point out that the messages received by the investor were sent in an encrypted manner. The kidnappers demand 9 million euros (10 million dollars) in Monero . This amount represents 1.6% of the market capitalization of this cryptoactive, which stands at 906,501,978 dollars according to CoinMarketCap.
As the kidnappers threatened the life of Anne-Elisabeth if the police were involved, the operation had been kept under cover. However, during the morning of this Wednesday, the police offered a press conference to provide more details. The authorities hope to obtain more information for the investigation if the public is aware. Since her disappearance, it is unknown if Mrs. Hagen, 68 years old, remains alive. For this reason, the authorities recommended not delivering the cryptoactives to the kidnappers .
Tom Hagen is an investor in real estate, oil and electricity. Over the years, Hagen, 68, has become the owner of 18 companies and subsidiaries. In 2018 it was estimated that his fortune amounted to the equivalent of 187 million dollars. Anne-Elisabeth married Hagen at the age of 19. According to the media, no similar case had occurred in Norway. This country, in addition, is one of the preferred by the cryptoactive miners in Europe, due to its low temperatures that help to cool the equipment and the low costs of electricity.
Apparently, the kidnapping of Mrs. Hagen is a professional operation, so the police do not expect to solve the case in the short term. Similarly, they informed nearby police departments to keep other families safe.
The criminals may have chosen Monero because of the privacy it provides. This cryptocurrency works thanks to the “ring signature”. This protocol provides privacy to transactions, which can not be traced through history. For this, the public key of a sender is mixed with other public keys extracted from the chain of blocks, which have the same probability of being valid signers. For this reason, it can not be identified which, among all the signatures belonging to the ring, is the sender of the transaction.