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Bernie Ecclestone’s Mother-in-Law Freed After Brazil Kidnapping

SAO PAULO — The kidnapped mother-in-law of billionaire Formula One auto-racing supremo Bernie Ecclestone was freed by Brazilian law enforcement agents on Sunday, police said.

Authorities freed Aparecida Schunk and arrested two men after storming a hideout near Sao Paulo.

Image: Bernie Ecclestone
Bernie Ecclestone OLI SCARFF / AFP - Getty Images

The city's anti-kidnap squad said that 67-year old Schunk was unharmed following her abduction on July 22. Local media said officials were searching for other members of the gang.

According to reports in a leading Brazilian news magazine, the captors had asked for 120 million reais ($36.5 million).

Schunk is the mother of 38-year-old Fabiana Flosi, who married 85-year-old Ecclestone in 2012. Along with his family, the motorsport mogul is worth around $3.1 billion, according to Forbes.

Kidnapping was common in Brazil a decade ago, with several people seized each day, often for sums of just a few hundred dollars.

Image: Victor Oliveira Amorim
A police officer escorts Victor Oliveira Amorim (left), who was arrested for suspected involvement in Aparecida Schunk's kidnapping on Sunday. Reuters

A crackdown by police, including the formation of a special anti-kidnap division, reduced the number considerably, and the crime has become much rarer.

Brazil is currently in the midst of its worst economic crisis in almost a century.