Millionaire's Wife 'Kidnapped,' Cryptocurrency Ransom Request Received

Police in Norway have suggested the wife of a millionaire real estate investor and energy magnate who has been missing for 10 weeks may have been kidnapped.

Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen, 68, has not been seen since October 31, Reuters reported. At first, investigators were at a loss for an explanation, though having received a ransom note and a threat to harm Hagen, they now believe she has likely been abducted.

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Inspector Tommy Brøske told reporters there is still much that is unclear, and stressed authorities were not jumping to conclusions. "A ransom demand and serious threats have been issued," Brøske explained.

"Our main theory is that the victim was kidnapped by unidentified perpetrators at her home," which lies around 12 miles outside of the capital Oslo, he said. Police are keeping an open mind and pursuing several possible theories regarding her disappearance.

Brøske noted police have received no proof that Hagen is alive, "but we haven't received any indication that she isn't alive either." It is possible that those demanding the ransom are opportunists not involved in the 68-year-old's disappearance.

Quoting unnamed sources, Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang reported that the unidentified plotters—whether they are holding Hagen or not—have demanded a ransom of just over $10 million in the Monero cryptocurrency. Police refused to confirm the exact amount, but said they have advised Hagen's family not to comply.

Family lawyer Svein Holden described Hagen's disappearance as "a cruel and inhumane act." He added, "We hope that by going public, contact will be established and that the family gets confirmation that all is well with Anne-Elisabeth… If we do, they are prepared to start a process that could lead to her return."

The inspector said police only had "very limited" contact with the suspected kidnappers online. He did not provide any information as to when the conversations took place nor what details were exchanged.

Tom Hagen, the husband of the missing woman, is the 172nd richest man in Norway, according to Kapital magazine. His estimated net worth is around $200 million. He is the majority owner in Elkraft—an electricity company he co-founded in 1992—holding 70 percent of the firm.

The NRK broadcaster reported that the couple are known for a "secluded lifestyle" centered on their countryside home. The agency described Tom Hagen as "media-shy and private." The pair were married in 1979 and have three children, all of whom are in their 30s and 40s.

Brøske explained that police have been investigating Hagen's disappearance for several weeks, but until this week have kept it "low profile" due to the seriousness of the threats against her, the BBC noted. He said investigators chose to release detailed information in the hope that someone may come forward with information that could help them solve the case.

Hagen home kidnapping Norway
The house of Norwegian multi-millionaire Tom Hagen is pictured in Fjellhamar, east of Oslo, Norway, on January 9, 2019. TORE MEEK/AFP/Getty Images