Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone's mother-in-law is apparently being held for ransom in Brazil.
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian police said Wednesday they are investigating the apparent disappearance of the mother-in-law of Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone.
A police official speaking on the condition of anonymity told The Associated Press that authorities are trying to find 67-year-old Aparecida Schunck. The official has knowledge of the investigation but is not allowed to speak publicly, as is the norm for Brazilian law enforcement officials during ongoing cases.
Several Brazilian news outlets have reported that Schunck was kidnapped in Sao Paulo on Friday and that abductors are demanding a ransom. However, the police official said that investigators are looking into other possibilities as well as kidnapping, though he would not specify.
Friends of Ecclestone and his wife, Fabiana Flosi, reached by the AP, declined comment. Formula 1 did not return messages seeking comment.
Schunck is Flosi's mother. Ecclestone met Flosi at a Brazilian Grand Prix and married her in 2012.
Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city and the center of commerce, for decades had problems with kidnappings. But a dedicated police task force has reduced the crime drastically the last 15 years.
Col. Jose Vicente da Silva, former national public security secretary, said crime bosses in the city have also moved away from abductions. Crime gangs ''have the infrastructure to do it, but their leaders think kidnappings lead to police finding out about their bigger drug trafficking activities,'' said Da Silva.
The incident comes on the eve of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Authorities say they will be deploying 85,000 troops and soldiers during the Aug. 5-21 competition.