As recently reported by CCN, 40-year-old IT specialist Pavel Lerner was recently kidnapped in Kiev, Ukraine on December 26. Lerner was reportedly forced into a Mercedes-Benz Vito by unknown assailants wearing dark clothes and balaclavas during the afternoon.
At the time of CCN’s piece it was known authorities were investigating the case, and U.K.-registered cryptocurrency exchange EXMO said it was doing all it could to help find Lerner. According to Quartz, the exchange recently released a statement revealing it managed to het a hold of him, adding that he is “safe, and there was no physical harm inflicted on him.” It stressed he is currently “in a state of major stress.”
Given his current state, Pavel “will not provide any official comments” in the next few days. EXMO’s statement further added that Pavel’s abduction story has “overgrown with rumors that might tamper with the official investigation,” and as such it won’t comment on any possible scenario.
According to the statement, Pavel Lerner is a leading analyst at the exchange, not a director or CEO as reported by CCN and other mainstream media outlets, and a blockchain expert who, separately, leads various projects. The company restated that his role didn’t involve access to its users’ financial assets, and that the platform is still running as usual.
The statement ends thanking the cryptocurrency community for its support, and promising timely updates. It reads:
“EXMO team is deeply grateful to the cryptocurrency community and the media for their active support. We promise to timely provide any updates on the situation.”
After Lerner’s abduction, EXMO revealed through Twitter it was hit with a Distributed Denial of Service track (DDoS), which at the time led some to believe the abduction might’ve been politically motivated, as the Ukrainian executive was open about his connections with the exchange.
At press time, EXMO is currently the 20th largest cryptocurrency exchange and one of the most prominent in Ukraine, with a $133 million daily trading volume. It offers various crypto to fiat trading pairs, including crypto to Russian rubles. It reportedly has about 90,000 active users trading on its platform.
Details of Lerner’s kidnapping and current whereabouts are unclear. Given that EXMO refrains from commenting the case and Pavel himself is presumably recovering from the incident, we’ll have to wait for the investigation to progress.
Featured image from Shutterstock.