Managing Director Of Major UK-Based Cryptocurrency Exchange Kidnapped In Kiev

Pavel Lerner, IT specialist and the managing director of EXMO, a major UK-based cryptocurrency exchange, has been allegedly kidnapped by “unknown criminals” in the Ukranian capital of Kiev, according to local media reports.

Lerner, 40-year-old citizen of Russia, 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) car to an unknown location, according to news resource, which cited an anonymous source in local law enforcement. The unidentified kidnappers were dressed in dark clothes and balaclavas who forcibly dragged Lerner into the car.

Lerner, who holds a residence permit in Poland, is a recognized IT specialist in Ukraine who has led a number of startups related to the technologies of crypto-currency and blockade mining. While his Facebook page says he is originally from Kursk, Russia, EXMO’s site states that the company is based in Polegate, England. EXMO is well-known with Russians, as the exchange is a route for exchanging Russian Rubles into Bitcoin.

Currently, multiple investigations are in progress to determine why and by whom Lerner was kidnapped. The law enforcers in Kiev have classified the case as a kidnapping of a person “part 2, article 161 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine” and currently carrying out search operation, and working out all possible leads in the case.

EXMO’s representatives confirmed media reports and told local crypto journal ForkLog that the incident has not affected the company’s functioning and in no way the users’ data and funds have been compromised.

“We are doing everything possible to speed up the search of Pavel Lerner. Any information regarding his whereabouts is very much appreciated. 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.”

EXMO is a sizable exchange with upward of $93 million turnover and is ranked 23rd by 24-hour volume. The exchange currently has  six currencies available on EXMO right now – USD, EUR, RUR (Russian Ruble), BTC, LTC and DOGE and also offers a selection of anonymous coins such as ZCash and Monero.