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Norwegian police: Missing wife of tycoon was abducted

Published
This is an undated handout picture distributed by Norwegian police on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019 of Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen, the wife of the Norwegian billionaire Tom Hagen. Norwegian police say the missing wife of one of Norway's richest men has been abducted, and that her suspected kidnappers have demanded a ransom of 9-million euro ($10.3-million.) it was reported on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (Norway Police via AP)

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The wife of a Norwegian multimillionaire missing since Oct. 31 probably has been kidnapped, police said Wednesday, adding that her suspected abductors have demanded a ransom reported to be over $10 million.

Police say they have no suspects in the disappearance of Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen, the 68-year-old wife of Tom Hagen — a media-shy real estate investor and owner of an electric company.

He is number 172 on a list of Norway's wealthiest people published by the financial magazine Kapital, with a fortune that amounted to nearly 1.7 billion kroner ($200 million) in 2018, according to Norwegian news agency NTB.

Justice Minister Tor Mikkel Wara told NTB that he was told about her disappearance right after it happened.

"The reason for us to go public with this case now is that, despite a broad and extensive investigation, we need more information," chief police investigator Tommy Broeske told a news conference.

Police have been "on the case for several weeks," but have no suspects, Broeske told a news conference. Police have received no signs whether Falkevik Hagen was still alive, "but we haven't either received any sign that she is not alive," he added.

A note found in the couple's house, east of Oslo, said Falkevik Hagen would be killed if the ransom wasn't paid in the cryptocurrency Monero or if the police got involved, according to Norway's VG newspaper.

Broeske declined to comment other than saying "the threats (in the note) were of a very serious character."

Police did not give a figure for the ransom, but the newspaper reported it was 9 million euros ($10.3 million.)

Those behind the abduction "have chosen to communicate digitally and we have had no other type of contact," Broeske said. Police urged the family not to pay any ransom.

The couple lived "a rather anonymous lifestyle," according to Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

Svein Holden, Hagen's lawyer, told reporters the abduction was "a cruel and an inhuman act."

"It is demanding and exhausting to be in such a situation over a long period of time," he said.

Police believe she disappeared from the couple's home, some 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the Swedish border. Broeske said they were working with Europol and Interpol on the case.

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This corrects the conversion rate from kroner to dollars in an earlier version: 1.7 billion kroner is $200 million, not $2 billion.

A view of the home of missing woman Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen, the wife of one of Norway's richest men, Tom Hagen, in Fjellhamar, Norway, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. Norwegian police say the wife of one of Norway's richest men may have been abducted and a demand for 9-million euro ($10.3-million) ransom in a cryptocurrency, considered a popular virtual currency among cyber-criminals, has been made. (Ole Berg-Rusten/NTB Scanpix via AP)
Police inspector Tommy Brøske speaks during a press conference in Lillestrom, Norway, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. Norwegian police say the missing wife of one of Norway's richest men has been abducted, and that her suspected kidnappers have demanded a ransom of 9-million euro ($10.3-million.)  (Ole Berg-Rusten, NTB scanpix via AP)
At centre, a view of the home of Norwegian billionaire Tom Hagen and his wife Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen in Fjellhamar, Norway, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. Norwegian police say the missing wife of one of Norway's richest men has been abducted, and that her suspected kidnappers have demanded a ransom of 9-million euro ($10.3-million). (Tore Meek, NTB scanpix via AP)
FILE - This 2011 file photo shows Norwegian investor Tom Hagen in Lillehammer, Norway. The wife of a Norwegian multimillionaire missing since Oct. 31 probably has been kidnapped, police said Wednesday, Jan. 9 2019, adding that her suspected abductors have demanded a ransom reported to be over $10 million.  Police say they have no suspects in the disappearance of Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen, the 68-year-old wife of Tom Hagen - a media-shy real estate investor and owner of an electric company. (Torbjorn Olsen/NTB scanpix via AP, file)
FILE - This 2011 file photo shows Norwegian investor Tom Hagen in Lillehammer, Norway. The wife of a Norwegian multimillionaire missing since Oct. 31 probably has been kidnapped, police said Wednesday, Jan. 9 2019, adding that her suspected abductors have demanded a ransom reported to be over $10 million.  Police say they have no suspects in the disappearance of Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen, the 68-year-old wife of Tom Hagen - a media-shy real estate investor and owner of an electric company. (Torbjorn Olsen/NTB scanpix via AP, file)
FILE - This 2011 file photo shows Norwegian investor Tom Hagen in Lillehammer, Norway. The wife of a Norwegian multimillionaire missing since Oct. 31 probably has been kidnapped, police said Wednesday, Jan. 9 2019, adding that her suspected abductors have demanded a ransom reported to be over $10 million. Police say they have no suspects in the disappearance of Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen, the 68-year-old wife of Tom Hagen - a media-shy real estate investor and owner of an electric company. (Torbjorn Olsen/NTB scanpix via AP, file)
Police inspector Tommy Brøske speaks during a press conference in Lillestrom, Norway, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. Norwegian police say the missing wife of one of Norway's richest men has been abducted, and that her suspected kidnappers have demanded a ransom of 9-million euro ($10.3-million.)  (Ole Berg-Rusten, NTB scanpix via AP)
Police inspector Tommy Brøske speaks during a press conference in Lillestrom, Norway, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. Norwegian police say the missing wife of one of Norway's richest men has been abducted, and that her suspected kidnappers have demanded a ransom of 9-million euro ($10.3-million.) (Ole Berg-Rusten, NTB scanpix via AP)
A view of the home of missing woman Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen, the wife of one of Norway's richest men, Tom Hagen, in Fjellhamar, Norway, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. Norwegian police say the wife of one of Norway's richest men may have been abducted and a demand for 9-million euro ($10.3-million) ransom in a cryptocurrency, considered a popular virtual currency among cyber-criminals, has been made. (Ole Berg-Rusten/NTB Scanpix via AP)
A view of the home of missing woman Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen, the wife of one of Norway's richest men, Tom Hagen, in Fjellhamar, Norway, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. Norwegian police say the wife of one of Norway's richest men may have been abducted and a demand for 9-million euro ($10.3-million) ransom in a cryptocurrency, considered a popular virtual currency among cyber-criminals, has been made. (Ole Berg-Rusten/NTB Scanpix via AP)
This is an undated handout picture distributed by Norwegian police on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019 of Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen, the wife of the Norwegian billionaire Tom Hagen. Norwegian police say the missing wife of one of Norway's richest men has been abducted, and that her suspected kidnappers have demanded a ransom of 9-million euro ($10.3-million.) it was reported on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (Norway Police via AP)
This is an undated handout picture distributed by Norwegian police on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019 of Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen, the wife of the Norwegian billionaire Tom Hagen. Norwegian police say the missing wife of one of Norway's richest men has been abducted, and that her suspected kidnappers have demanded a ransom of 9-million euro ($10.3-million.) it was reported on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (Norway Police via AP)
At centre, a view of the home of Norwegian billionaire Tom Hagen and his wife Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen in Fjellhamar, Norway, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. Norwegian police say the missing wife of one of Norway's richest men has been abducted, and that her suspected kidnappers have demanded a ransom of 9-million euro ($10.3-million). (Tore Meek, NTB scanpix via AP)
At centre, a view of the home of Norwegian billionaire Tom Hagen and his wife Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen in Fjellhamar, Norway, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. Norwegian police say the missing wife of one of Norway's richest men has been abducted, and that her suspected kidnappers have demanded a ransom of 9-million euro ($10.3-million). (Tore Meek, NTB scanpix via AP)