The millionaire Belgian industrialist, Edouard-Jean Empain, was a free man on Monday (27 March) after ore then two months as the hostage of a criminal gang.
The millionaire Belgian industrialist, Edouard-Jean Empain, was a free man on Monday (27 March) after ore then two months as the hostage of a criminal gang. Baron Empain, held for a 17 million Swiss France (8.5 million U.S. dollar) ransom, was kept hooded and chained throughout his 62-day ordeal, according to French police, who also confirmed that the kidnappers sliced off part of the Baron's little finger to sent to his family as identification. No ransom had been paid out.
SYNOPSIS: On Monday night (26 March) police kept guard outside Baron Empains' home near the Arc de Triomphe while reporters waited for a glimpse of the head of the giant Schneider Conglomerate. It was from here that he was snatched by the kidnappers on January the 23rd (1978).
Police Commissioner Pierre Ottavioli told newsmen the Baron was released after a telephone call to the kidnappers from a man arrested during a gun battle last Friday, (24 March) when police staked out a ransom drop. It is believed the man was the leader of the gang. The Commissioner said the man told the gang by telephone to release the Baron otherwise they would lose their lives and never be left alone by the police.
It was here at his home on Avenue Foch that the Baron spent time recovering after his release. Police said the 40-year-old millionaire had been bound by his neck and wrists, suffered from the cold, and got little to eat during the ordeal. He had been hooded, and caught no glimpse of the kidnappers. The hide-out was changed several times.
Alain Caillol, the man who asked the gang to release Baron Empain, has been charged with complicity in the abduction, as well as illegal detention and assault. Police described Caillol as a known criminal.