Was Bernie Ecclestone’s Mother-in-Law Kidnapped in Brazil?

Magazine claims Aparecida Schunck was abducted in Sao Paolo last Friday.

Bernie Ecclestone Mother In Law Kidnapped
Jens Büttner/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Uh-oh. Formula One boss man Bernie Ecclestone's mother-in-law has been kidnapped in the Brazilian city of Sao Paolo, according to Brazilian magazine Veja.

The magazine claims that Aparecida Schunck, mother of Ecclestone's wife Fabiana Flosi, was nabbed by kidnappers near her home in Sao Paolo last Friday night. It also claims that the criminals are seeking a ransom of 120 million Brazilian reals, or roughly $36.5 million, in exchange for the safe return of Ecclestone's kidnapped mother-in-law. Neither police in Sao Paolo nor the Ecclestone family have commented on the report, according to the BBC.

According to the Veja report, the ransomers are demanding their money from Ecclestone in British pounds sterling, divided into four bags of bills. The £27 million ransom, if true, would be the largest known amount ever requested in a Brazilian kidnapping.

Ecclestone, 85, has an estimated net worth of approximately $3.1 billion, making him one of the wealthiest residents of the United Kingdom. He currently serves as chief executive of the Formula One Group, and has been involved in F1 for almost 60 years.

The F1 supremo married Flosi, 38, in 2012, after meeting her at the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2009, where she served as vice-president of marketing for the race. He has been married twice before. His predilection for younger women also means Ecclestone lies in the peculiar situation of having a mother-in-law younger than him. Schunck is 67.

Brazil is notorious for kidnapping, but the practice has been ramping down in recent years after police began an intensive program to crack down on it, including the establishment of an anti-kidnapping task force. So-called "express kidnappings," however, have become common in the country; in those, an abductee is taken at gunpoint to a nearby ATM, where he or she is encouraged to empty his or her bank accounts.

If true, the kidnapping of Ecclestone's mother-in-law would be the latest round of injury to a Brazil that has been suffering from a barrage of crises in recent months. The company is currently struggling through an economic recession, and the 2016 Summer Olympics two weeks away have been plagued with concerns about everything from corruption to crime to crumbling infrastructure. Oh, and Zika.