The 2018 kidnapping of the wife of a Norwegian real-estate billionaire found itself a new wrinkle on Monday as local authorities continue to explore the case’s links to a cryptocurrency scam as well as a fake identity bought by one of the kidnappers.

Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik disappeared in October 2018, with her husband Tom Hagen finding a ransom note demanding the equivalent of $10 million in cryptocurrency to be transferred into an account or his wife would die, according to the Daily Beast.

After a thorough investigation of the case, Hagen and another man was arrested in April 2020 and charged with her kidnapping and murder, with the police believing that the scheme was made to mislead police officers regarding the murder of Falkevik, Vanity Fair reported.

“As the case initially appeared, our main theory was that Anne-Elisabeth Hagen had been abducted by someone with a financial motive. And in June 2019, we came to believe that she had most likely been killed,” Øst Police District said. “We now believe there was no abduction and there was never any genuine negotiations. In other words there was a clear and well-planned attempt at misleading the police.”

Hagen was released from custody soon after and remains free in spite of the charges; however, the other man, believed to be 30-year-old Ole Henrik Golf, is being investigated due to the fact that he is a made-up identity who was bought and sold on a darknet website.

Tied to the scheme by a series of cryptocurrency exchanges that may or may not have been used in the scheme with Hagen, the police are now looking for the people who run the service in hopes of potentially finding out where Falkevik’s body has been hidden.

They also found that the kidnapper used a bitcoin trading app’s chat feature to communicate with the police discreetly, which they believe Hagen used to hire them to kidnap and potentially kill his wife.

“We are wondering who in 2018 had both these skills and the willingness to do this to Anne-Elisabeth Hagen,” prosecutor Gjermund Hanssen said.

Hagen and his lawyer have denied involvement in the victim's kidnapping.

“It is important to emphasize that although we have charged Tom Hagen, the case is still being investigated and there are several unanswered questions,” the police said.

The kidnapping of the wife of a wealthy real-estate billionaire in Norway may be linked to both a cryptocurrency scam and an identity place found in the Dark Web. This is a representational image. Kanchanara/Unsplash.

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