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Software tycoon’s son kidnapped in Moscow: reports

The son of Russian software tycoon Eugene Kaspersky has been kidnapped in Moscow and his abductors are demanding a 3 million euro ($4.4 million) ransom for his release, reports said on Thursday.

The Lifenews.ru news website said that unknown men abducted Ivan Kaspersky, 20, on Tuesday morning and then made the ransom demand to his father by phone.

His father, who founded the leading anti-virus firm Kaspersky Lab, then flew from London to Moscow, it said.

The Gazeta.ru website said its sources in the security forces had confirmed Ivan Kaspersky had been kidnapped, without giving further details.

The Interfax news agency, meanwhile, quoted a source as saying Ivan Kaspersky disappeared on Tuesday and has been the subject of a search by the special services and the police ever since.

There was no official confirmation of the reports but an interior ministry spokesman told the RIA Novosti news agency that the authorities were checking the information.

“The interior ministry and the police are checking the information that unknown individuals have kidnapped the son of the well-known businessman Kaspersky,” the official said.

Kaspersky, 45, co-founded Kaspersky Lab in 1997, building on a decade of research into computer viruses.

He studied computer science, cryptography and mathematics at a Moscow institute used by the KGB intelligence service to train its staff.

He later worked at a defence ministry research institute until 1991, where he first began writing anti-virus programmes.

Kaspersky co-founded the company with his wife Natalya Kasperskaya. The couple are now divorced but still work together.

His fortune is valued at 800 million dollars by Forbes magazine, making him the 125th richest man in Russia.

The kidnappings of children of prominent businessmen is not uncommon in Russia, although Ivan Kaspersky appears to be the most prominent victim yet.

In 2009, criminals held the son of a vice president at state oil firm Rosneft, Mikhail Stavsky, freeing him after a three month ordeal.