Helicopter pilot suspected of orchestrating abduction of Ecclestone’s mother-in-law, report says
One of the helicopter pilots who works for Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the kidnapping of Ecclestone’s mother-in-law, the BBC reports. Jorge Eurico da Silva Faria was one of three individuals arrested as part of the hostage rescue operation by Sao Paulo police, and is suspected to have masterminded the kidnapping.
Aparecida Schunck, 67, was rescued by a special anti-kidnap police unit after being taken from her Sao Paulo home on July 22 by unknown assailants posing as delivery men. She was freed by police on Aug. 1.The kidnappers tricked Schunck into opening the security gate of her home and forced her into their car at knife point. The assailants then demanded 28 million pounds sterling, or approximately $36.5 million, from her family, to be provided in four separate bags.
Schunck was recovered unharmed from an apartment in Sao Paulo after a major police operation was mounted to free her, and two suspects were initially arrested. It is not known at this time what led the police to the helicopter pilot.
Ecclestone and Brazilian police had been in contact with the kidnappers, with the police managing to trace one of the phones used by the kidnappers. The BBC reports that Ecclestone had even offered the services of a private security company for the rescue and wanted to travel to Brazil himself, but was told by the police to stay in the U.K.
Successful hostage rescue operations are relatively rare, and negotiations can drag on for months or even years. High-profile kidnappings of this type are becoming rarer in Brazil, though the general risk of armed assault or kidnapping is relatively high, prompting many wealthy individuals to use security measures like stealthily armored cars, on a daily basis.
Schunck is the mother of Fabiana Flosi, a Brazilian F1 manager who has been married to Ecclestone since 2012.