Latin America & Caribbean

F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone's mother-in-law 'kidnapped in Sao Paulo'

Bernie Ecclestone and wife Fabiana Flosi in 2008 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Fabiana Flosi's (L) mother has reportedly been abducted

The mother-in-law of Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has been kidnapped in Brazil with criminals demanding a ransom of $36.5m (£28m), reports say.

Aparecida Schunck, 67, the mother of Mr Ecclestone's wife Fabiana Flosi, was abducted from her Sao Paulo home.

If confirmed, the ransom would be the largest ever demand in Brazilian criminal history.

Mr Ecclestone, 85, is one of the most powerful men in sport and is worth an estimated $3.1bn (£2.4bn).

Brazilian police have not yet officially commented on the apparent kidnapping, in the Interlagos suburb of the city.

Mr Ecclestone married Ms Flosi in 2012, three years after meeting the now 38-year-old at the Brazilian Grand Prix. He divorced his former wife of 25 years, Croatian model Slavica Radic, to be with her and they live in the UK.

The kidnappers have demanded that the ransom be paid in pounds sterling and divided into four bags of cash, Veja reported.

Kidnapping was common in Brazil a decade ago, with Sao Paulo seeing an abduction every 27 hours in 2002, but declined after police formed a special anti-kidnap division and cracked down.

More common now is the practice of "express kidnapping" where people are sometimes abducted off the street and driven to a series of ATMs until their accounts are emptied.

The country, due to host the Olympic Games in less than two weeks, is experiencing its worst economic crisis for decades.

Mr Ecclestone has not commented on the reports.

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