Paul Lerner, managing Director of cryptocurrency exchanger EXMO kidnapped in Kyiv on December 27, was released Friday after a ransom payment in the amount of $ 1 million in bitcoins.
Lerner was kidnapped in Kiev on Wednesday, after he left his office. As we reported earlier, it was taken away by “unidentified people” in a black Mercedes Benz.
According to Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Minister of internal Affairs of Ukraine:
He was abducted by an armed gang with the purpose of extortion. We have operative information that he paid the ransom in bitcoin in the amount of more than $ 1 million.
Immediately after the liberation EXMO issued an official statement, saying that Lerner is safe.
At the moment he is safe and no physical harm he caused. However, Paul is in a state of serious stress; therefore it would not give any official comments in the coming days.
In the statement of EXMO’s no mention of a ransom, but the exchange said that the kidnapping of Lerner did not affect the functioning of the company:
We would also like to note that the activities of Paul in EXMO excluded the possibility of access to the financial assets of our users. Despite this incident, the platform continues to operate as usual.
Lerner is a citizen of Russia who has a residence permit in Poland and is involved in several cryptocurrency startups in Ukraine. EXMO officially registered in the UK, but it holds some of the “operation in Ukraine”.
The investigation Lerner continues, and the identity of the kidnappers is still unknown.