Liyaqat Parker, a South African businessman who was reportedly kidnapped about two months ago, has been freed after his captors allegedly demanded bitcoins as a ransom.
The popular businessman who was released on Monday amidst unclear circumstances is based in the city of Cape Town in South Africa. The report reached the press though according to a statement released by his family and circumstances and details about his release are still vague, as the family refuses to disclose whether the bitcoin ransom demanded was paid or not.
Liyaqat Parker is a businessman known to own the ubiquitous supermarket chain, Foodworld. The businessman was accosted at gunpoint sometime in July and was subsequently abducted. After his abduction by the five perpetrators who accosted him, the kidnappers demanded a ransom of exactly 50 bitcoins according to a news source, The South African. However, even at the time before his release, the family denied reports that the abductors demanded a ransom in bitcoins or fiat cash had been made.
Walid Brown, who spoke on behalf of the family to the press communicated: “The family is waiting for the kidnappers to contact them. They have not received contact from anybody demanding anything,” This was about the period of the kidnap, according to The Times.
“[There has been] lots of information from people that have tips‚ they’ve had hundreds of calls but no credible information.”
Anonymity and Crime
The fact that virtual currencies allow for payments to be made without the trail of money being possible to trace has been a cause for concern for many government authorities and has been the major ‘flaw’ the authorities and financial institutions keep pointing out. Because of its anonymous nature, bitcoin has become notorious among abductors who hold out for payment in bitcoin rather than cash. In a series of other related happenings, last year alone, Pavel Lerner, an analyst at crypto exchange EXMO was abducted in the capital city of Kiev, and his ransom was set at US$1 million in bitcoin. It was reported earlier in the year that a group of 10 Indian Policemen was accused of kidnap and extortion involving also a crypto theft.
However, a number of issues are still yet to be verified about the Liyaqat Parker case, and it is not yet clear whether the ransom had been paid as demanded.