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Pavel Lerner, a prominent Russian blockchain expert and known CEO of one of the major crypto-exchanges EXMO, has allegedly been kidnapped by “unknown” criminals in the capital of Ukraine, Kiev. According to Ukraine-based web publication Strana, Lerner, 40-year-old citizen of Russia, was kidnapped on December 26 when he was leaving his office in the center of town (located on the Stepan Bandera Avenue ) in Kiev.
On 26 December he was dragged into a black Mercedes-Benz by men wearing balaclavas the report said. Police in Kiev confirmed to the BBC that a man had been kidnapped on the day in question, but would not confirm his identity. A spokeswoman said that the matter was currently under investigation, and that more information would be made public later on.
Mr Lerner is a prominent Russian blockchain expert and the news of his kidnapping has stunned many in the international cryptocurrency community. Exmo described him as an analytics manager. According to its website, it has 94,955 active users trading cryptocurrencies.
Despite the gravity of the incidents affecting the company, a statement from them to RT claimed, Exmo spokesman Anatoliy Larin said that the kidnapping would not affect the operation of the exchange and that users needn’t fear the loss of funds from their accounts. It read:
“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.”