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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Hostage team out of kidnapping case

The Norwegian state police unit that specializes in crisis and hostage situations (KGF, Krise- og gisselforhandlertjeneste) is no longer involved in the alleged kidnapping 15 months ago of the wife of a wealthy Norwegian businessman. There simply is no one for them to negotiate with any longer.

Anne-Elisabeth Hagen disappeared from the longtime home she shared with her husband, Tom Hagen, on October 31, 2018. Police launched a massive kidnapping investigation after signs of a struggle in a bathroom in the Hagens’ home at Lørenskog, northeast of Oslo, and discovery of a cryptic ransom note.

Police controversially kept the case secret for more than two months, for fear of jeopardizing negotiations from alleged kidnappers who reportedly demanded payment in bitcoins over a challenging platform. Negotiations, however, proved difficult from the start and the alleged kidnappers ultimately went silent. That led investigators to believe that Hagen was dead.

Newspaper VG reported late last week that KGF, which has special competence in handling hostage negotiations and working with victims’ families under pressure, has withdrawn from the case and is no longer advising Tom Hagen and other family members who have consistently refused to speak to the media.  The last time there was any contact from Anne-Elisabeth Hagen’s alleged abductors was on July 8 last year.

Lead investigator Tommy Brøske stressed there was “nothing dramatic” in KGF’s withdrawal, calling it “a natural consequence” of the lack of any “real” negotiations. Lawyer Svein Holden, who has served as spokesman for the Hagen family, declined comment. staff



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