The kidnapped son of Kaspersky Lab's CEO was freed over the weekend following blunders by his captors that led to the arrest of five people accused of abducting him and charging €3 million in ransom.
Russian authorities freed 20-year-old Ivan Kaspersky after storming the Moscow home where he was being held, The Moscow Times reported on Monday. Police learned his whereabouts by tracking the signal of a cellphone that called Kaspersky Lab boss and cofounder Eugene Kaspersky to make the ransom demand.
Police lured four of the suspects from the home by asking them to collect a down payment and then stopped them on the pretext of a routine document check, the paper said. The suspects were detained at the same time the police freed the younger Kaspersky, who was being held in the home's banya – a traditional Russian bath.
“Police officers working on the case were astonished with how stupid and audacious the kidnapping was,” an official told Interfax.
The suspected ringleader was identified as Nikolai Savelyev, 61, who reportedly has a criminal record on unspecified charges. He was allegedly aided by his wife, Lyudmila Savelyeva, 64, a son who is also named Nikolai, and two of the son's friends.
Savelyev hatched the scheme in an attempt to pay off debts. Eugene Kaspersky's riches have been estimated by Fortune magazine at $800 million.
“Kaspersky Lab confirms that an operation to free Ivan Kaspersky was carried out successfully by the Federal Security Service (FSB), the Criminal Investigation Department of the Moscow Police and Kaspersky Lab's own security personnel,” the company said in a statement. “Ivan is alive and well and is currently located at a safe location. No ransom was paid during the rescue operation.”
Police deliberately spread false information about the kidnapping to journalists, explaining why there was conflicting information in many of the reports about whether the elder Kaspersky was working with police or had agreed to pay the demanded ransom.
Ivan Kaspersky was abducted on Tuesday in the northwest part of Moscow on his way to work.
Every year, an estimated 200 to 300 children of rich parents are kidnapped in Russia, ABC News reported. ®