A Russian IT specialist and managing director of one of the largest U.K cryptocurrency exchanges Pavel Lerner director of the cryptocurrency exchange EXMO was abducted by “unknown persons” in Kiev, reports Ukraine-based web publication Strana.ua. The head IT director stopped responding to phone calls on December 26, he was then reported missing.
“The programmer was dragged into a Mercedes-Benz Vito car by unknown persons in dark clothes and balaclavas, and taken away in an unknown direction,” the website writes.
The exchange boss was reportedly kidnapped in Kiev. Lerner, a 40-year-old Russian citizen, has a number of startups in Ukraine linked to cryptocurrency mining and blockchain technology. He is also a managing director of a major UK-based cryptocurrency exchange Exmo.
Bitcoin may have started out being used by criminals, but in the past few months we have seen a huge increase in Bitcoin/Crypto related crimes. Will this trend continue? Besides targeting exchanges, personal wallets, what else is left to target? Companies, multi-sig accounts, and of course banks.
EXMO representatives told local crypto journal ForkLog that the incident has not affected the company’s functioning and that users’ data and funds have in no way been compromised:
“We are doing everything possible to speed up the search of Pavel Lerner. Any information regarding his whereabouts is very much appreciated. Despite the situation, the exchange is working as usual. We also want to stress that nature of Pavel’s job at EXMO doesn’t assume access either to storages or any personal data of users. All users funds are absolutely safe.”