13 Feb 2018 17:46

Russian embassy to Austria requests info on investigation of 3-year-old Russian's kidnapping from Vienna hotel

MOSCOW. Feb 13 (Interfax) - The Russian embassy to Austria is maintaining contact with the country's law enforcement agencies following the kidnapping of a three-year-old daughter of a Russian citizen from a Vienna hotel at the end of last year.

"The embassy sent a note to the Austrian Foreign Ministry requesting that the Austrian side provide information on the process of considering the aforementioned report. We have yet to receive an official response to our request," the Russian diplomatic mission said in a statement published on its Facebook account.

The Russian embassy "is monitoring the situation," the statement said.

"The embassy's consular department provided necessary advisory support within the limits of its legal powers to the Russian citizen in filing a report to Austrian law enforcement over the presumed kidnapping," it said.

The embassy said that the Russian citizen requested assistance "in connection with the presumed kidnapping of her daughter, aged 3, in Austria" in late December 2017.

On January 12, 2018, the Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung reported on the incident. It said the mother had stopped in Vienna on her way to Germany, where she was taking her daughter for a medical examination. Her husband, a 36-year-old Lebanese man with a Russian passport, set up a meeting with her in Vienna. The husband did not show up for the meeting, and when the woman returned to her hotel, she found neither her daughter nor the girl's nanny there. Then, the husband called her and demanded that she not alert the police. He also demanded that she go to Lebanon. The woman dismissed his demands and filed a police report sbout her daughter's kidnapping. The Russian embassy was informed about the incident.

The name of the mother has not been disclosed.

The Russian Investigative Committee's Moscow branch has opened a criminal case.

"According to investigators, no later than December 28, 2017, unidentified persons entered into a criminal conspiracy and kidnapped an underage Russian citizen from a hotel room in Vienna," the Investigative Committee said on Tuesday.

A pre-investigation probe was launched on the grounds of an article in which the mother talked about the kidnapping of her daughter, it said. A criminal case on charges of the kidnapping of a minor by a group of persons was initiated following the probe.

Investigators are currently establishing the circumstances of the incident and the child's whereabouts.

The Investigative Committee did not disclose other details.

The crime is punishable by five to twenty years' imprisonment.