A Russian IT specialist and managing director of one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges Pavel Lerner has been kidnapped in Kiev, Ukrainian media reports.

Lerner stopped responding to phone calls on December 26, according to a Ukrainian media Strana.ua.

“The programmer was dragged into a Mercedes-Benz Vito car by unknown persons in dark clothes and balaclavas, and taken away in an unknown direction,” the website writes.

The exchange boss was reportedly kidnapped near Stepan Bandera Prospect in Kiev. The street used to be called Moscow Prospect but was renamed by Kiev after the Ukrainian nationalist in the aftermath of the Maidan revolution in 2013.

Lerner, a 40-year-old Russian citizen, has a number of startups in Ukraine linked to cryptocurrency mining and blockchain technology. He is also a managing director of a major UK-based cryptocurrency exchange Exmo.

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