Aparecida Schunk, the mother-in-law of Bernie Ecclestone, was kidnapped in São Paulo after being tricked by assailants posing as deliverymen, the Mirror reports. The culprits approached her home in the affluent Jardim Santa Helena district carrying a box, before pushing their way inside the property when a maid opened the door. Aparecida was then forced into her car and driven away – the abandoned vehicle was later found around 25 miles away on a motorway west of São Paulo.
Bernie Ecclestone pictured with his wife Fabiana Flosi
The 67-year-old, the mother of Bernie's third wife Fabiana Flosi, was kidnapped on 22 July, with those responsible subsequently demanding a ransom of £28million for her release. Negotiators from São Paulo's elite anti-kidnap division are said to be in contact with the men, who stated that the ransom be paid in pounds sterling, in four separate bags.
According to the newspaper, police believe that the kidnappers had been monitoring Aparecida's property for many months, and could now be moving her among several locations to avoid detection.
Ms Schunk was taken from her home in the Jardim Santa Helena district
A source said: "The sophistication of the kidnapping and the information that has been received so far has left officers in no doubt this was meticulously planned, possibly over several months. Very few people in São Paulo knew who Ms Schunck is related to.
"Police believe someone from outside Brazil masterminded the elaborate abduction after finding out she is Mr Ecclestone's mother-in-law.
"Officers have information indicating that the architect of recent kidnappings which targeted high-worth individuals was led by a criminal from Europe. It is a line of investigation the police are actively pursuing."
Bernie, 85, has an estimated £3.2billion fortune
Neighbours have now revealed that Aparecida moved into the house shortly after her daughter's marriage to Bernie in August 2012, and subsequently added extra security features to the property, including a wire fence on top of the 10-foot security wall surrounding the property.