Kaspersky family hit by kidnapping
Software tycoon’s 20-year-old-son allegedly being held for $4.4m ransom
The 20-year-old son of software tycoon Evgeny Kaspersky was allegedly kidnapped in Moscow earlier this month, while on the way to a firm's office where he was doing work experience as a computer programmer.
Ivan Kaspersky's ransom has been set at $4.4m, and the kidnappers warned his father not to contact the police according to online news portal lifenews.ru, which is said to have close contacts inside the FSB security service.
The online news service said that Evgeny, who is said to be the 125th richest man in Russia with a $808m fortune, was contacted by the kidnappers on his mobile phone while he was in London. Evgeny then contacted friends in the FSB to handle the ransom talks and allegedly pay the ransom.
"Money has been paid for Ivan. I do not know the sum. But there is information that they have given him back," a law enforcement source told the website.
However, some news sites were claiming that the ransom had not been paid and it was premature to talk of Ivan's release. These sites allege that the information about a ransom deal may have been a tactic to buy more time for further ransom negotiations.
Evgeny has issued a statement to the media asking the press to stop speculating about members of his family.
Experts say that the kidnapping of children from wealthy Russian families has become popular since the 1990s, with up to 300 children being kidnapped every year.
Mikhail Vinogradov, a criminologist, said that wealthy families were right to send their children out of the country to protect them.
"Kidnapping in our country is of a chaotic and often brutal nature," he said. "It is not for no reason that many rich individuals get their own people out of Russia."
In March, the 16-year-old daughter of a top oil executive, was reported to have been kidnapped in the Moscow region and is still missing.