Norway billionaire's wife Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen being held for ransom

Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen has been missing since October

Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen has been missing since October

The wife of a wealthy Norwegian businessman has gone missing in a rare suspected kidnapping, and her family has received a ransom demand to be paid in cryptocurrency, police have revealed.

Police inspector Tommy Broske attends a press conference in Lillestrom, some 20 km north of Oslo, January 9, 2019 on the kidnapping of wife of a Norwegian multi-millionaire Tom Hagen, Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik missing for 10 weeks.

Police had no indication whether Falkevik Hagen was dead or alive.

Police wouldn't divulge the size of the demand.

Norwegian police had asked the media to stay silent on the kidnap, but on Wednesday decided to make it public in the hope that neighbours, or people hiking in the area, may have seen or recorded something that could help lead to the attackers.

Mr Hagen, who is Norway's 172nd richest man and made his fortune in real estate and the energy sector.

Police believe she disappeared from the couple's home, some 31 miles from the Swedish border.

Falkevik Hagen is married to Tom Hagen, an investor with business interests in power generation and real estate estimated to be worth 1.7 billion kroner (200 million dollars), according to financial site Kapital.

The criminals are requesting the ransom only be paid in Monero, likely as a way to hide any trace of their operation so they can get away with the crime unscathed.

Many Norwegian media outlets knew of Mrs Falkevik Hagen's disappearance but did not publish any details after the police warned against publicising the kidnap over fears the attackers would harm the victim. Broeske declined to comment other than saying "the threats (in the note) were of a very serious character".

There has been no evidence since she disappeared that Mrs Hagen is safe, police say. "As things now stand, we advise the family not to pay".

The couple lived "a rather anonymous lifestyle", according to Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

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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