Pavel Lerner, managing director of the EXMO crypto exchange, has been kidnapped in Ukraine, according to local media reports.
According to news resource Strana.au, which cited a source in local law enforcement, the abduction took place in the centre of Kiev. Lerner was dragged into a car by force and taken away to an unknown destination.
The crypto-exchange website continues to work as usual.
40-year-old Paul Lerner is a Russian citizen and IT and blockchain technology expert. He once headed a department at Kursk State University, and has run a number of startups in Ukraine in the fields of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency mining.
The source cited by Strana said that acquaintances of Lerner contacted the Obolonsky district police department late on Tuesday evening to report the kidnapping. According to the report, Lerner was near his office in Stepan Bandera Street when he was abducted.
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The programmer was dragged into a Mercedes Vito car by unknown persons in dark clothes and disappeared. At present the police investigation is ongoing.
The EXMO cryptocurrency exchange has already outlined a strategic development plan for 2018. After integrating margin lending into its platform, EXMO plans to conduct its own crowdsdale from February 26 to March 26, 2018. The site plans to launch the sale of EXMO Coin (EXO) tokens, and funds collected during the crowdsale will be used to improve its margin lending system.
EXMO also intends to expand its support team in order to better respond to customer feedback in 2018. The firm eventually wants to enter new markets, allowing even more users from around the world to buy and sell cryptocurrencies using fiat currency.
Update: A spokesman for EXMO told Finance Magnates that Pavel is an analyst at EXMO exchange (not, as claimed by the majority of media outlets, the CEO or director).
Sofiia Neduzhko, the crypto exchange’s PR Manager, added: “We are doing everything possible to speed up the search of Pavel Lerner. Any information regarding his whereabouts is very much appreciated. We are kindly asking you to email to firstname.lastname@example.org in case you are aware of any facts that might help the investigation. Despite the situation, the exchange is working as usual. We also want to stress that nature of Pavel’s job at EXMO doesn’t assume access either to storages or any personal data of users. All users funds are absolutely safe.”