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Dragon 'offers €57k to maim' blackmailer

DRAGONS' Den star Duncan Bannatyne has offered a £50,000 (¤57,000) reward to break the arms of a blackmailer who threatened his daughter on Twitter.

The self-made millionaire responded angrily after a post, apparently from a cyber cafe in Moscow, was made by a person calling themselves Yuri Vasilyev.

It said: "I'm looking for a £35,000 (¤40,000) investment to stop us hurting your Hollie Bannatyne. We will bring hurt and pain into your life. We are watching her. She is very attractive. Want photos?"

It instructed the entrepreneur and father of six, who built his fortune through a chain of nursing homes: "Tweet using the hashtag £4money to confirm payment will be made."

Mr Bannatyne (62) who has 372,000 followers on the site, used Twitter to offer a £25,000 reward "for the coward who calls himself @YuriVasilyev.

"Double if his arms are broken first". A few minutes later he added: "I am serious btw. I think he is in Moscow."

The post was later removed but in a statement Mr Bannatyne said: "My family is well protected but I take any threat to them very seriously and will do all I can to ensure the person or people involved are caught."

It was unclear whether the initial offer for information leading to the arrest of the apparent extortionist still stood, although the Dragon insisted he was closing in. "@YuriVasilyev_ My people are getting closer to you every minute, run and hide you little coward in Moscow.

"Go home to your mum and cry, we are closing in on you little boy," he added.

Mr Bannatyne, who has a fortune estimated at £430m (¤492m), grew up in a council house in Clydebank, Scotland, earning his first money as a paperboy.