Latin America & Caribbean

Ecclestone's helicopter pilot arrested over kidnapping

Aparecida Schunck, mother-in-law of Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, leaves a police station in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1 August 2016 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Aparecida Schunck thanked police after she was freed after nine days in captivity

Police have arrested one of Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone's helicopter pilots on suspicion of involvement in the kidnapping of Mr Ecclestone's mother-in-law.

Aparecida Schunck, 67, the mother of Mr Ecclestone's wife Fabiana Flosi, was abducted from her home in Sao Paulo on 22 July, but was rescued on Saturday.

A $36.5m (£28m) ransom was demanded for her release but none was paid.

Pilot Jorge Eurico da Silva Faria is one of three people seized by police.

Mr Silva Faria is the alleged mastermind of the attack.

Ms Schunck was freed after being traced to a house near Sao Paulo after investigators monitored phone calls between the kidnappers and her family.

Shortly after she was freed, Ms Schunck told Brazilian media: "I only ask for these bandits to be jailed so they can't abduct anyone else in Sao Paulo."

The BBC understands that Mr Ecclestone had wanted to come to Brazil to help with the investigation and had even offered the services of a private security company to deal with the kidnappers.

Mr Ecclestone, 85, is one of the most powerful men in sport and is worth an estimated $3.1bn (£2.3bn).

He married Ms Flosi, 38, in 2012, three years after meeting her at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

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