Kaspersky Son Home Safe After Police Raid Moscow Sauna

 
 
By Fahmida Y. Rashid  |  Posted 2011-04-25
 
 
 

Kaspersky Lab's founder has his son safe at home and the kidnappers behind bars, the company has confirmed.

The Federal Security Service and the Criminal Investigation Department of the Moscow police department launched a raid over the weekend and successfully rescued Ivan Kaspersky, the company said in its official statement on April 25. The police are still investigating other possible accomplices.

Ivan Kaspersky is the son of Yevgeny "Eugene" Kaspersky, the CEO and co-founder of Russian security company Kaspersky Lab. The younger Kaspersky was kidnapped April 19 on the way to InfoWatch, where he had a computer programming internship.

"Ivan is alive and well and is currently located at a safe location," the company said in its official statement.

Five individuals were detained in the April 24 raid, including the leader, who was a "professional kidnapper," according to RiaNovosti, a Russian news site. The Moscow City Court authorized their arrest on April 25, meaning the five suspects will be kept in custody while investigators decide whether to press kidnapping charges, which can carry up to 15 to 20 years in prison.

Kaspersky Lab's own security personnel also participated in the raid, according to the company.

The suspected ringleader, Nikolai Savelyev, and his wife Lyudmila Savelyev, decided to kidnap the son to pay off a bank loan, The Moscow Times reported. They held Kaskersky in a "banya," a Russian steam bath, near their home on the outskirts of Moscow. When they contacted Yevgeny Kaspersky by cell phone, investigators traced the call to the gang members, which included Savelyev's son and two friends.

Officers posing as middlemen carrying a down payment on the ransom lured the kidnappers to a meeting, according to the Interfax news agency. Their cars, a Lexus RX300 and Mercedes, were stopped by traffic police at one of the check points under the guise of a routine document inspection, a police source told Interfax.

While the document inspection was in progress, other officials raided the banya to free the hostage.

"Police officers working on the case were astonished with how stupid and audacious the kidnapping was," a police official told Interfax.

Kidnappers reportedly had demanded $4.3 million. Forbes Russia recently estimated Yevgeny Kaspersky to be worth approximately $800 million.

Despite claims in LifeNews last week about a ransom being paid, Kaspersky Lab said there was no ransom paid to the kidnappers. The company had originally requested that the media stop speculating about the kidnapping because it was a "distraction" to the business.

The Federal Security Service was originally negotiating with kidnappers when media reports speculating about the investigation emerged, "posing a threat to Kaspersky junior's life," according to a RiaNovosti article. Some of the conflicting information, such as Kaspersky not coopering with the police and that the ransom had been paid, was spread by the police intentionally, investigators said.

The kidnappers allegedly gathered information about Kaspersky online, such as the fact that he had no bodyguards. Among other personal information, Ivan Kaspersky had listed his full address on the social network Vkontakte.ru, according to The Moscow Times. The privacy settings on the page have since been changed so the address is no longer readily available, according to the paper.

There is a disconnect in how people operate on the Web and what they consider risky behavior, Thomas Oscherwitz, chief privacy officer for ID Analytics, told eWEEK. They don't think about how the information posted on social networking sites can be used against them in real life, according to Osherwitz. All is not lost, however, as Oscherwitz said people are "beginning to get it."

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