Kidnappers Free Exmo Bitcoin CEO for £1 Million Ransom

Emerson –

Paul Lerner, who was kidnapped by a group of balaclava-wearing cryptocurrency criminals in Kiev on Boxing Day, have today released the Exmo Bitcoin Exchange CEO after getting $1.3 million (£1 million) in bitcoins as ransom, according to a Ukrainian interior minister.

It is unclear who paid the ransom demand for the prominent cryptocurrency miner and strategist.

Mr Lerner was reported as “safe” and that there was “no physical harm inflicted on him.”

The kidnapping is considered the first of its kind in Ukraine linked to Bitcoins. 

HNW Magazine previously reported that all online communication from Mr Lerner’s social media accounts had stopped following his reported abduction on 26 December by a group of men wearing black balaclavas while leaving the Kiev offices of his UK-registered company. 

A statement from Exmo said that Mr Lerner’s work did not involve access to the financial assets of its users, and that while the company was “facing a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack intended to disrupt its exchange” there had been no interruption to service.

Last year, the company’s dot-com domain was blocked and then changed to, which is registered in the name of Mr Lerner.

EXMO, which claims to have approximately 1 million customers globally, is currently involved in a court battle with Roskomnadzor, who has vocally opposed Russian and Ukraine state crackdowns on activities in the cryptocurrency space.

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