Norwegian tycoon held in connection with suspected murder of wife

Norway media tycoon Tom Hagen
Tom Hagen

One of Norway’s wealthiest men is being held in connection with the suspected murder of his wife, who has been missing since 2018.

Tom Hagen, a media-shy real estate investor and owner of an electric company, was arrested on his way to work, chief police investigator Tommy Broeske said.

Police first reported that Anne-Elizabeth Falkevik Hagen, 69, had been abducted in October, but made a public appeal in January 2019 when hundreds of tips came in.

Mr Broeske told a press conference: “The case is characterised by a clearly planned deception.

“As other hypotheses have been weakened, suspicions against Tom Hagen have gradually been strengthened.”

Prosecutor Aase Kjustad Eriksson said authorities would seek to have Hagen held for four weeks in pretrial custody and that more arrests were possible.

Police declined to elaborate on a motive due to the ongoing investigation.

The woman that Hagen had married at age 19 disappeared from the couple’s home in Loerenskog, east of Oslo, authorities said.

A ransom for her release was demanded, police said in January 2019 but declined to give the amount.

Norwegian newspaper VG said it was for 9 million kroner (€800k) to be paid in cryptocurrency.

Police eventually released security videos of men walking back and forth outside Hagen’s workplace.

Officers and police dogs were also seen scouring the grounds around the couple’s home and divers went into a nearby pond as police led a large investigation at home and abroad.

In June 2019, police changed their main hypothesis because of the absence of any signs that the missing woman was still alive or any recent contacts with the alleged kidnappers.

They believe Falkevik Hagen, who has never been found, had been killed and said they “cannot exclude a staged kidnapping to hide it”.

Tom Hagen, the second-oldest in a farming family of 12 children, made his money from a real estate business which he started in 1978.

His fortune is estimated to be worth nearly 1.7 billion kroner (€150m).

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