The kidnappers who abducted an EXMO Finance employee in Ukraine have reportedly released him after they were paid a ransom of $1 million in Bitcoin, according to a report from Reuters. The victim, blockchain expert Pavel Lerner, had been seized by a group of masked assailants on December 26. EXMO released a statement on its website that confirmed that Lerner is now safe and recovering from the ordeal:
“At the moment, he is safe, and there was no physical harm inflicted on him. Nevertheless, Pavel is currently in a state of major stress, therefore, he will not provide any official comments in the coming days.”
The company has also stressed that Lerner’s role at EXMO did not provide him with access to user financial assets, and that the exchange’s platform continues to operate normally. The online statement noted that the abduction story has “overgrown with rumors that might tamper with the official investigation” and suggested that the company would not be offering further comment on the matter “in the nearest future.”
Officials in Kiev have acknowledged that the police are currently investigating a kidnapping that took place in that city’s Obolon district, but have yet to confirm whether Lerner was the victim.