Woman in Brazil rescued after kidnappers demanded bitcoin ransom payment

brazilpolice

The 32-year-old wife of a Brazilian “bitcoin businessman” has been rescued by local police after she was grabbed by kidnappers who demanded a ransom be paid in bitcoin.

According to local reports (link in Portuguese), the woman was kidnapped Wednesday in the Brazilian capital of Sao Paulo after she dropped her daughter at school. The kidnappers subsequently contacted the victim’s husband and demanded an unspecified ransom payment in bitcoin complete with a video of the victim in which she said that she didn’t know where she was and had been kidnapped.

Police believe that the woman had been observed for some time prior to her being snatched off the streets. Police didn’t name either the victim or her husband, noting only that husband was the owner of a company in the bitcoin business.

Showing that real life doesn’t reflect Hollywood movies, the husband immediately contacted police and started negotiating with the hijackers, who were demanding a “large amount of bitcoin.” In order to delay paying the ransom, the husband told the kidnappers that bitcoin’s trading volume in Brazil wasn’t large enough for him to have the ransom amount available, suggesting that the amount asked was too high.

The good news is that the delaying tactics paid off, giving police the opportunity to find the location the victim was being held and rescue her. One man was arrested at the scene, though local authorities believe up to six men were involved in the kidnapping plot.

This is apparently the first time someone has been kidnapped in Brazil for bitcoin. “I spoke with a few colleagues from all over Brazil and there was never a kidnap attempt in which a payment in virtual currency was demanded,” a police spokesperson said. “This is unprecedented in Brazil.”

The victim is said to be “well and not injured” while the investigation continues.

Photo: Jorge Andrade/Wikimedia Commons