Criminals in Brazil are reportedly asking one of the most powerful men in sport for $36.5 million in exchange for the safe return of his mother-in-law. Aparecida Schunck, 67, was kidnapped in Brazil on the night of July 22 in the city of Sao Paulo. She’s the mother of Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone’s wife Fabiana Flosi. Ecclestone, 85, is thought to have a net worth of around $3.1 billion, mainly through his control of Formula 1’s commercial rights throughout the world.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Local Media Reports Say That the Ransom Demand in Brazilian History
Veja in Brazil reports that the ransom being asked for by Schunck’s kidnappers is the largest in Brazilian history. There has been no official statement from Ecclestone on the kidnapping reports. Veja also reports that the kidnappers have asked for the ransom in United Kingdom sterling and divided into four bags.
2. Photos on Schunck’s Facebook Page Show Her Attending the 2015 Brazilan Grand Prix With Her Daughter
On her Facebook page, Schunck is shown to be close to her daughter. The pair attended the 2015 Brazilan Grand Prix together. Other photos show the pair in London, where Flosi lives, together. On Mother’s Day, Flosi wrote on her Facebook page, “Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers, and especially mine. There are no words to thank so much love and dedication. Thank you Mum, I love you.”
The Daily Mail reports that Flosi had been working as the Vice-President of Marketing for Brazilian Grand Prix when she met Ecclestone.
3. Fabiana Flosi Is Ecclestone’s 3rd Wife
Ecclestone has been married to Fabiana Flosi since 2012. They first met at the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2009. In order to be with Flosi, Ecclestone divorced his wife of 25 years, Slavica Radic. The couple lives together in the United Kingdom.
Ecclestone has two daughters from his marriage to Radic, Tamara and Petra Ecclestone.
A the time of Ecclestone and Radic’s divorce, the Sun reported that the settlement landed the former model between $1 and $1.5 billion.
4. Bernie Ecclestone Is Thought to be the 4th Richest Man in the United Kingdom
Ecclestone is the fourth richest man in the United Kingdom and has an estimated net worth of $3.1 billion, that’s according to Forbes’ list of billionaires. The listing notes that between 2010 and 2011, there was a $200 million increase in his fortune.
The sport was embroiled in numerous scandals during Ecclestone’s reign. In 2011, his friend and Formula 1 executive Max Mosley was accused of having a Nazi-themed orgy with a group of prostitutes by the British tabloids. Two years previous, Ecclestone attracted criticism for saying that “(Hitler) brought a country that was bankrupt into a country that was very strong and that was really demonstrating what someone could do if they had the power and didn’t have to keep back and referring every five minutes.” He added that the Nazi dictator could “get things done,” reports the Daily Telegraph.
5. The City of Sao Paulo Was Formerly the Kidnapping Capital of the World
The BBC reports that Sao Paulo was a kidnapping hotspot. In 2002, the network says that there was a kidnapping in the city every 27 hours. As a result, local officials set up a “special anti-kidnap division” which helped authorities to crack down on the problem.
This kidnapping comes a week after New Zealand Olympic athlete Jason Lee was held a hostage at a home he’s renting in preparation for the games, reported the Sydney Morning Herald. Lee, a jiu-jitsu champion, says his hostage-takers were dressed as police and forced him to withdraw money from two ATM machines.
Brazil is also facing political and economic turmoil as the country prepares to host the 2016 Olympic games in August.