Four Men Charged with kidnapping Hulk's Sister

Rio De Janeiro, Dec 14 (IANS): Brazilian prosecutors have charged four men in connection with last month's kidnapping of the sister of Brazil international footballer Hulk.

Restaurateur Elio Pereira da Silva, security guard Jose Eliton de Melo Santos and students Victor Hugo Henrique da Silva and Rodolfo Bruno Barbosa Souza are in custody and awaiting trial in the northeastern city of Campina Grande, reports Xinhua.

Brazilian daily O Globo reported Thursday that Pereira, the owner of the restaurant where Hulk's sister Vieira worked as a nutritionist, is accused of orchestrating the kidnapping.

According to prosecutor Marcus Antonius da Silva Leite, Pereira tricked Vieira into accompanying him to a work-related conference, Nov 6.

Instead, the 22-year-old was taken to a private property where she was gagged and held at gunpoint by the men. Next day Vieira convinced De Melo to release her, promising that he would be paid his share of the ransom demand of $300,000.

Hours later De Melo called Vieira demanding the payment. De Melo appeared at the agreed venue on time and was immediately arrested by waiting police, who also located the other three men shortly after.

Hulk, who signed for Russian soccer club Zenit St Petersburg for $50 million in September, is not the first high profile Brazilian footballer to suffer a family kidnapping ordeal.

In 2004, the mother of AC Milan winger Robinho was abducted in the Brazilian coastal city of Praia Grande. She was released 40 days later when Robinho agreed to pay a ransom of $100,000.

A decade ago, the father of Barcelona and Brazil legend Romario was held hostage for a week in Rio de Janeiro before the kidnapper surrendered to police.


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