What happened to Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen?
One of Norway’s richest men arrested over mystery disappearance of his wife
One of the richest men in Norway has been arrested on suspicion of murdering his wife.
Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen, 69, wife of millionaire property and energy magnate Tom Hagen, vanished from their home in Lorenskog, east of Oslo, in October 2018. They had been married for 49 years, having been childhood sweethearts.
Police first thought she had been abducted and in January 2019 said a ransom demand had been received for her release.
The BBC reports that the case has “gripped Norway, where kidnappings and murders are relatively rare”.
In 2019, shortly after Falkevik Hagen disappeared, police said a ransom had been issued for her return.
Police did not disclose the amount demanded, but according to the BBC, Norwegian media revealed that it was for $10m (£8m) to be paid in the cryptocurrency monero.
Then, in June last year, police changed tack, saying that the case could in fact be murder.
Officers said there was “no sign that Ms Falkevik Hagen was still alive and no contact with the alleged kidnappers”. They added that they could not exclude a “staged kidnapping to hide [the murder]”, Sky News says.
Police arrested Falkevik Hagen’s husband Tom yesterday on his way to work, The Times reports.
Tommy Broeske, who is leading the police investigation, said: “The case is characterised by a clearly planned deception. As other hypotheses have been weakened, suspicions against Tom Hagen have gradually been strengthened.
“There was no kidnapping, no real negotiating counterpart or real negotiations. There are indications of a will to sidetrack [investigators].”
Prosecutor Aase Kjustad Eriksson added: “After now 18 months of investigation, police have come to a point where it has reason to suspect Tom Hagen of murder or conspiracy for murder.”
Hagen’s lawyer, Svein Holden, said his client “strongly maintains that he has nothing to do with this”.
The 70-year-old will appear in court later today but may not be charged until later in the legal process, a normal procedure in Norway.
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Who is Tom Hagen?
According to Norwegian business magazine Kapital, Hagen’s fortune is about 1.9bn kroner (£150m), making him Norway’s 164th richest man.
He made his money from Elkraft AS, an electricity supplier he co-founded in 1992, and property development. The Daily Mail reports that he currently holds a 70% stake in the firm, which operates throughout Scandinavia.
The paper adds that a pre-nuptial agreement made in 1987 shows that Falkevik Hagen was entitled to just “£15,000 of his £156m fortune along with a plot of land and a Citroen car if the couple divorced”.
The agreement was also amended in 1993, the Mail notes, “to give Tom Hagen control over a property that Anne-Elisabeth had inherited from her parents”.
However, the contract may not have stood up in court, with lawyers telling the paper that the “agreement was so lopsided it might have been ‘ripped apart’”.
“I have seen many marriages through my practice, but rarely seen a marriage that appears so unbalanced,” one lawyer said. Another added: “If she had tried to challenge this marriage agreement as part of a request for divorce, her husband would have been ripped apart by a court.”