The Brazilian police have arrested one of Bernie Ecclestone’s pilots on suspicion of kidnapping the F1 boss’ mother-in-law. He is believed to have used intimate knowledge of the family’s routines to plan and execute the operation.
A Brazilian record ransom of £28m was demanded for the return of Aparecida Schunck, 67, the mother of Mr Ecclestone’s wife Fabiana Flosi, following her abduction from her home in Sao Paulo on 22 July. She was rescued on Saturday.
Ecclestone had offered to travel to Brazil during the hunt for his mother-in-law, but was advised his presence could be more of a hindrance than a help.
The heist team were busted when police intercepted and tracked the location of calls made to Ecclestone to arrange the ransom payment – to be delivered to a warehouse packed into seven bags.
Kidnapping is a huge problem in Brazil and despite the anti-kidnap police taskforce – which has reduced the crime drastically over the past 15 years – it is believed each year many wealthy families just pay up quietly to recover a family member, rather than risk alerting the police and losing a relative.