Kidnappers in Brazil Target Formula One Boss Bernie Ecclestone's Mother-in-Law
Brazilian media sources say kidnappers are demanding a huge ransom for the safe return of Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone’s mother-in-law.
The São Paulo kidnapping of Aparecida Schunck, mother of Ecclestone’s wife Fabiana Flosi, was reported in Veja and Globo, according to the BBC. The assailants are asking for $36.5 million.
The Friday kidnapping set a new ransom record for a country that’s no stranger to financially motivated crimes. Ecclestone, 85, has a net worth of $3.1 billion, which makes him a ripe target. The British racer-turned-motorsports tycoon married Flosi four years ago.
Brazil is suffering through its worst recession since the 1930s. Unemployment surged in the wake of the economic downturn, and scandal within the country’s government isn’t helping matters. Media reports mention a spike in crime ahead of next month’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
According to Brazilian media, Schunck’s kidnappers are asking for the ransom to be paid in pounds sterling, divvied up into four bags of cash. Ecclestone hasn’t commented publicly on the situation.
Kidnappings in Brazil are usually carried out by urban organized crime rings, according to The Telegraph. Despite a spike in crime, abductions are on the wane. Most abductions take the form of “express kidnappings,” the publication states, where victims are seized, taken to an ATM, and released after the kidnappers receive relatively small sums of cash.
Ecclestone bought the Brabham Formula One team in 1972 and formed the Formula One Constructors’ Association in 1974. He soon became chief executive of that body, which evolved into today’s Formula One Group.
[Image: Ryan Bayona/ Flickr]
More by Steph Willems