Mystery around suspected kidnapping of woman in Austria

An 88-year-old woman was abducted on the street in a suspected kidnapping in the Austrian town of Eisenstadt, police said Tuesday.

Mystery around suspected kidnapping of woman in Austria
Illustration photo of Esterhazy castle in Austrian Eisenstadt. Photo: AFP

The woman was walking down the street with her nurse when two black limousines pulled up beside them and two people emerged, police said in a statement.

They made the 88-year-old get into one of the cars — which are thought to have had foreign licence plates — before speeding off.

“The search for the suspects is in full swing,” a police spokesman told the APA news agency.

However Interior Minister Herbert Kickl sounded a note of caution over the nature of the crime, saying it was not clear “whether this is a kidnapping in the classic sense of the word”.

Police said they could not reveal the victim's identity at this time.

Austrian media have named her as the mother of Stefan Ottrubay, head of the foundation which manages the ancestral fortune of the former Hungarian noble family of Esterhazy.

Police said investigations were being conducted “internationally” while local media reported heavily armed officers on the streets of Eisenstadt in the hours after the abduction.

Cars were being stopped and searched, especially those with Hungarian licence plates, one witness said

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Austria probes claim spyware targeted law firms and banks

Austria said Friday that it was investigating a report that an Austrian company developed spyware targeting law firms, banks and consultancies in at least three countries.

Austria probes claim spyware targeted law firms and banks

Microsoft’s security team earlier this week said it found that a malware called Subzero — developed by Vienna-based company DSIRF — was deployed in 2021 and 2022.

“Observed victims to date include law firms, banks and strategic consultancies in countries such as Austria, the United Kingdom and Panama,” it wrote in a blog entry on Wednesday.

Austria’s interior ministry said it had not received reports of any incidents.

READ ALSO: Austria wary of cyber attacks after personal data of foreign residents leaked online

“Of course, (intelligence agency) DSN checks the allegations. So far, there is no proof of the use of spy software from the company mentioned,” it said in a statement.

Austria’s Kurier newspaper cited DSIRF as saying that Subzero had not been misused and “was developed exclusively for use by authorities in EU states” and was not commercially available.

DSIRF did not immediately return a request for comment from AFP.

Austria’s interior ministry said it knew of the company but “has not had any business relationships” with it.

Last year several media outlets reported that governments around the world, including in the EU, had used Pegasus spyware made by Israel’s NSO Group to spy on opponents.

Budapest and Warsaw responded that the use of Pegasus was for legitimate national security reasons.