Sao Paulo, Brazil - The mother-in-law of Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has been kidnapped for ransom in her home city.
Brazilian TV Globo reported on Tuesday at Aparecida Schunck Flosi Palmeira, 67, was seized on Friday night in Interlagos, the Sao Paulo neighborhood that hosts the Brazilian F1 Grand Prix.
There was no confirmation from Brazilian officials or from Ecclestone's staff in London on the report which came less than two weeks before Rio de Janeiro hosts South America's first Olympic Games.
“We neither confirm nor deny this report,” said a spokesman for the regional security ministry. “That is our policy in cases of suspected kidnapping, to avoid putting the lives of potential victims in danger.”
The military police also said: “We cannot confirm anything.”
According to Globo, the kidnappers are already in contact with the victim's family; Veja, a Brazilian weekly, reported that the kidnappers were demanding a ransom of £30 million (R520 million).
Aparecida Palmeira is the mother of Ecclestone's 38-year-old Brazilian wife Fabiana Flosi, who met the 85-year-old billionaire while working for the Interlagos Grand Prix in 2009. The couple married in Switzerland and live in London.
Neighbours in the comfortable area of Jardim Santa Helena where Aparecida Palmeira keeps a home said a group of men came pretending to be making a delivery.
“When they opened the door, they went in carrying a box... They went in and left the box in the house, called the boss and forced her to go out into her own car,” said one neighbour, who did not want to be identified.
Another said: “From the time they went in and came out, it didn't take more than 10 minutes.”
Kidnappings were common in Brazil in the late 1990s and the early 2000s, but dropped with more intensive policing and creation of a specialised anti-kidnapping department.
Like us on Facebook