18 Dec 2003

Cook Islands resident nabbed for international kidnapping

5:20 pm on 18 December 2003

A Cook Islands resident has been arrested in Europe and charged with kidnapping a millionaire's son and demanding a 12 million US dollar ransom.

The Cook Islands News reporta that the father of four, of Dutch descent, worked for several years at a tropical garden in Rarotonga where he had set up home with his young family before leaving them earlier this year.

The kidnapping took place in Holland in October, and sparked a huge manhunt in both Holland and Belgium where the teenagers was found five days after disappearing.

Meanwhile, the Financial Intelligence Unit, which investigates money laundering, says it's unable to reveal any information about the 500 thousand US dollars the Dutchman invested in property in the Cook Islands.

The prime minister's advisor, Norman George, indicated local police would be helping to finish the kidnapping investigation, which he says the man planned using the internet while in the Cook Islands.

Rarotonga police executed a search warrant at the family home yesterday and have confirmed they removed items from the house.