Formula One: Bernie Ecclestone's mother-in-law kidnapped in Brazil: reports

Formula One boss Bernie Eccleston (left) and his wife, Fabiana Flosi in Singapore on Sept 18, 2014.
Formula One boss Bernie Eccleston (left) and his wife, Fabiana Flosi in Singapore on Sept 18, 2014.PHOTO: AFP
Picture of the house of Aparecida Schunck Flosi Palmeira, mother-in-law of Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, taken on July 26.
Picture of the house of Aparecida Schunck Flosi Palmeira, mother-in-law of Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, taken on July 26.PHOTO: AFP

SAO PAULO (AFP) - The mother-in-law of Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has been kidnapped for ransom in her home city of Sao Paulo, Brazilian media reported on Tuesday.

Aparecida Schunck Flosi Palmeira, 67, was seized on Friday night in Interlagos, the Sao Paulo neighbourhood that hosts the Brazilian Grand Prix, TV Globo reported.

There was no confirmation from Brazilian officials or from Ecclestone's staff in London on the report which came less than two weeks before Rio de Janeiro hosts South America's first Olympic Games.

"We neither confirm nor deny this report," a spokesman for the regional security ministry told AFP. "That is our policy in cases of suspected kidnapping, to avoid putting the lives of potential victims in danger."

The military police also said: "We cannot confirm anything."

According to Globo, the kidnappers are already in contact with the victim's family.

Veja, a Brazilian weekly, reported that the kidnappers were demanding a ransom of 120 million reais (S$49.7 million).

Aparecida Palmeira is the mother of Ecclestone's 38-year-old Brazilian wife Fabiana Flosi, who met the 85-year-old billionaire while working for the Interlagos grand prix in 2009.

The couple married in Switzerland and live in London.

Kidnappings were common in Brazil in the late 1990s and the early 2000s, but dropped with more intensive policing and creation of a specialised anti-kidnapping department.

Relatives of footballers were particularly targeted, including the mother of Brazilian national team star Robinho in 2004. She was held for 41 days in the outskirts of Sao Paulo.

There were reports that she was freed after payment of as much as a US$200,000 (S$271,000) ransom, although the footballer's lawyers never confirmed this.

Another high-profile case involved the father of football star Romario in 1994. He was held for seven days before being freed.

More recently, the sister of national team player Hulk was held for 24 hours in the state of Paraiba.