Monday 23 October 2017

'Kidnap ring' was like a Bond film – Olympian

Larysa Moskalenko
Larysa Moskalenko

Josephine McKenna

A former Olympic athlete at the centre of an alleged ring that kidnapped children embroiled in international custody battles has compared their daring operations to scenes from a James Bond film.

Larysa Moskalenko, a Ukrainian who won bronze in sailing at the Seoul Olympics in 1988, was one of four people arrested by police in Palermo, where she now runs a luxury boat rental business.

At a pre-trial hearing at Palermo's Pagliarelli Prison, Ms Moskalenko (50) admitted providing speedboats for her alleged accomplices, former special forces soldiers who kidnapped children from one estranged or divorced parent to reunite them with the other.

"I thought it was all legal, in fact I thought it was a humanitarian action," Ms Moskalenko said. "I had seen it many times in James Bond films."

Police said the boats were used to recover children from North Africa and take them to Italy, from where, for large fees, they were reunited with their parents in Europe.

Ms Moskalenko said she was so convinced the work was legitimate she introduced herself to Palermo Mayor Leoluca Orlando and other officials.

The former athlete was arrested in Sicily last Thursday. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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