A recent event involving the abduction of an employee of one of the cryptocurrency exchange platforms caused a stir in the community. The employee, Pavel Lerner– an analyst at EXMO, a UK based exchange was reported to have been kidnapped by a group of unidentified people in a black Mercedes Benz while he was leaving work in Kiev, Ukraine on December 26, 2017. According to recent reports, the abducted EXMO has since been found and the company has established contact with him earlier today.
Following the latest developments, EXMO has officially released a statement addressing concerns regarding both the health of Pavel as well as the security of user funds on the platform. The official release from the company states —
“Pavel holds a role of a leading analyst at EXMO, and is a blockchain expert who leads an array of personal blockchain startup projects not related to the operations of the EXMO platform.
On December 26, Pavel was captured by a group of unknown masked people, and all the connection with him ceased for several days. On December 29, we managed to get a hold of Pavel. At the moment, he is safe, and there was no physical harm inflicted on him. Nevertheless, Pavel is currently in a state of major stress, therefore, he will not provide any official comments in the coming days.
The case is currently under investigation by the state security authorities.
We would like to note that the story of Pavel’s abduction has overgrown with rumors that might tamper with the official investigation. That said, EXMO currently refrains from any comments or suggestions of own versions of the possible scenario, until the end of the investigation.
We would also like to point out that Pavel’s activity at EXMO did not involve an access to financial assets of our users. Despite the aforementioned, the platform continues its usual operations.
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.”
The abduction was widely reported in all mainstream as well cryptocurrency media outlets and in few cases, Pavel was mistakenly reported as the CTO of EXMO. In addition, the platform also became a target of DDOS attack during the same time span, causing panic among many EXMO customers. There were fears of the kidnappers coercing information from Pavel and using it to siphon off funds from the platform.
These concerns were addressed by the company by stating,
” …Despite the situation, the exchange is working as usual. We also want to stress that nature of Pavel’s job at EXMO doesn’t assume access either to storages or any personal data of users. All users funds are absolutely safe.”
With Pavel found safe and sound, the company is refraining from making any statements at the moment due to the ongoing investigation into the alleged kidnapping. More information from law enforcement agencies and EXMO is awaited.