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FT: EXMO Director Released From Kidnap After Paying $1 Mln Ransom

Pavel Lerner, the managing director of the cryptocurrency exchange EXMO kidnapped in Kiev Dec. 27, was released today after paying a $1 mln ransom in Bitcoin, The Financial Times (FT) reports.

Lerner was abducted in Kiev on Wednesday leaving his office. Ukrainian online publication Strana.ua was first to report that he was taken away by “unknown persons” in a black Mercedes Benz.

FT reports they were informed of the ransom payment by Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to the Ukrainian interior minister. Gerashchenko told FT:

“He was kidnapped by an armed gang for the purpose of extorting Bitcoins. We have operative information that he paid more than $1 mln worth of Bitcoins.”

In an article published today, Strana.ua reported that sources in the local police believe the kidnappers were frightened into releasing Lerner after the story of his abduction garnered so much attention globally.

EXMO reps release statement

Today EXMO released an official statement about Lerner’s abduction. The statement reports that the company “got a hold” of Lerner today and that he is currently safe:

“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 EXMO statement contains no mention of a ransom paid of any amount. In the statement, the exchange repeated that Lerner’s abduction in no way affected the company’s usual functioning:

“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.”

However, according to the company’s official Twitter, the exchange was under DDoS attack just yesterday, Dec. 28.

According to Strana.ua, Lerner is a Russian citizen who holds a residence permit in Poland and is involved in a number of crypto/ Blockchain startups in Ukraine. FT reports that EXMO is officially registered in the UK, but has “operations in Ukraine.”

As per EXMO’s official statement today, the investigation into Lerner’s abduction continues and the identities of the kidnappers are still unknown. Once identified, the perpetrators could face up to five years imprisonment, in accordance with article 146.2 of the Ukrainian criminal code, which covers abduction for “mercenary purposes” or by a group of people “upon their prior conspiracy.”

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Director of UK-Based Crypto Exchange Kidnapped in Kiev

According to local sources, Pavel Lerner, the managing director of the cryptocurrency exchange EXMO was arrested in Kiev on Tuesday.

Citing a source in local law enforcement, the Ukrainian journal reports that Lerner was unreachable on Tuesday afternoon after he was abducted by “unknown persons” while leaving his office in the center of town and driven off in a black Mercedes-Benz.

Currently, multiple investigations are underway to determine why and by whom Lerner was kidnapped.

According to the local journal, Lerner is a Russian citizen who holds a residence permit in Poland and is involved in a number of crypto/ Blockchain startups in Ukraine. Lerner’s Facebook page says he is originally from Kursk, Russia. EXMO’s site states that the company is based in Polegate, England.

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

In other news from Ukraine, earlier this month in Odessa, ForkLog reported that both their office and their CEO’s apartment were raided by members of the Ukrainian Security Service. The raid culminated in the seizure of equipment, including those on which personal and corporate cryptocurrency funds were held.

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Ripple on EXMO – XRP Price Analysis: Possible Support Break

Ripple is going to be a trading potion on the EXMO cryptocurrency platform while being paired with BTC, USD, RUB.

EXMO cryptocurrency platform has successfully expanded its number of trading instruments – Ripple (XRP) has been added to the listing. The deposit/withdrawal operations are already available in the “Finance” section. This was a continuation of the platform adding well-known cryptocurrecies, with ZCash being known for its anonymity which was integrated previously on EXMO.

ripple prediction

Source: coinamrketcap

When it comes to its price development, XRP against the US Dollar could very well retest the $0.1950 supporting level before making any move upwards. There is a spiking movement in both ways as the value struggles to move above the $0.2100 against the USD.

xrp dollar cryptocurrency

At the moment, the pair is just above the trend line support at $0.2030 and the 100 hourly SMA. Once there is a break and close below $0.2000, there can be a downside push towards $0.1950. An immediate support sits around the 50% Fib retracement level of the last wave from the $0.1880 low to $0.2093 high.

ripple prediction

For the near term understanding, the most important support holding the price up is at $0.1950 and the 61.8% Fib Retracement level of the above mentioned increasing flow. However, if buyers are able to gain momentum over the $0.2100 mark, the pair XRP/USD could very well head for $0.2250.

Important Levels:

  • Major Support  – $0.2000
  • Major Resistance  – $0.2100

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