Bitcoin exchange chief kidnapped as he leaves work

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Kidnapped Exmo Bitcoin exchange manager Pavel Lerner was freed by his abductors in Ukraine on Friday.

Lerner, 40-year-old citizen of Russian Federation, was abducted on December 26 while leaving his office in Stepan Bandera Avenue in Kiev and driven off in a black Mercedes-Benz Vito brand (state number AA 2063 MT) vehicle to an unknown location, according to news resource Strana.au, which cited an anonymous source in local law enforcement.

Foreign press were initially unable to verify those particular details, but over the past day the BBC has partly confirmed it: Local police said "a man had been kidnapped on the day in question, but would not confirm his identity".

An unnamed EXMO representative stated that because Lerner was doing analytical tasks at EXMO and not overseeing the day-to-day business, the activity of the exchange would remain unaffected.

According to local media reports, 40-year-old Lerner was kidnapped while leaving his office in Kiev's Obolon district on December 26. "The case is now under investigation of the state security authorities". Lerner's company is registered in the United Kingdom, but mostly focuses on the Eastern European market.

"We are doing everything possible to speed up the search for Pavel Lerner", claimed Exmo spokesman Anatoliy Larin to the BBC.

Blockchain is the technology that underpins the digital currency Bitcoin.

The crypto-exchange website continues to work 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. It is a top ten Cryptocurrency exchange with over 1 million users and over 100,000 active daily traders.

Shortly after the incident, Exmo tweeted that it was facing a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack meant to disrupt its exchange. "All users funds are absolutely safe".

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