Ecclestone's mother in law taken hostage
The mother-in-law of Formula 1 tycoon Bernie Eccelstone has reportedly been taken hostage for a $52 million ransom in what is believed to be Brazil’s biggest kidnapping.
Aparecida Schunck, the mother of Mr Ecclestone’s third wife Fabiana Flosi, was snatched on Friday night in Interlagos, São Paulo, according to Brazilian magazine Veja.
It is understood Mrs Schunck, 67, lived nearby in the neighbourhood, where Mr Ecclestone met Ms Flosi at the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2009.
The pair married in 2012 after Mr Ecclestone, 85, divorced his then wife Slavica Radic. Mr Ecclestone is worth an estimated US$3.1 billion.
The kidnappers were said to be in contact with the Ecclestone family and had demanded R$120 million (£27.84 million), to be paid in sterling in four separate bags. The details were confirmed by other publications, which had held off reporting the abduction.
Security services in São Paulo said they did not comment on kidnapping cases for the safety of the victim and could not confirm the reports. The Ecclestone family also declined to comment.
However, it was described as the biggest ever kidnapping ransom in the country amid heightened security concerns ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympics, which start in less than two weeks.
In the host city, a New Zealand athlete reported being “express kidnapped” by police officers at the weekend and forced to withdraw money from an ATM as a bribe.
Jason Lee, a Brazilian jiu jitsu fighter who has lived in Rio for almost a year and was returning from a competition when he was stopped by police, said: “I was threatened with arrest if I did not get in their private car and accompany them to two ATMs to withdraw a large sum of money for a bribe.
“I'm not sure what's more depressing, the fact this stuff is happening to foreigners so close to the Olympic Games or the fact that Brazilians have to live in a society that enables this absolute b******* on a daily basis.”
Brazilian media reported that two officers had today been arrested.
Meanwhile, 12 men have been arrested by federal police over allegations that they were part of an “amateur” terror cell that sympathised with the Islamic State (Isil) and a Franco-Algerian visiting physics professor at Rio’s federal university was deported after his work visa extension was refused.