Dragons' Den star in Twitter threat

Duncan Bannatyne uses social networking site to issue extraordinary threat against Russian apparently trying to blackmail him

As Twitter spats go, they do not get more personal – or threatening – than this. The Dragons' Den star Duncan Bannatyne yesterday offered a £50,000 reward to break the arms of someone claiming to be a Russian who threatened his daughter on the social networking site.

The self-made millionaire responded angrily after the posting apparently emanating from a cyber café in Moscow by a person calling themselves Yuri Vasilyev. It said: "I'm looking for a GBP35,000 investments 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.

Internet sleuths came to the Scottish tycoon's aid, offering clues and information on the identity of the person that made the threat.

However there was concern over his use of the site to offer money in return for violence. One user asked: "You are seriously trying to pay someone, to break someone's arms, on an incredibly public forum? Fair enough. Just to clarify, you 100% want everyone to know you are seriously doing this. Despite it being illegal?"

Others preferred to use the medium to poke fun at the star, who styles himself, author and philanthropist as well as entrepreneur on his Twitter feed. One suggested: "Perhaps Duncan Bannatyne should have just put up half the amount for 20 per cent of it and asked Theo to match it."

Mr Bannatyne, who has a fortune estimated at £430m, grew up in a council house in Clydebank earning his first money as a paper boy. He served as a stoker on the Ark Royal but was given a dishonourable discharge after threatening to throw his commanding officer overboard. He was court-martialled and sentenced to nine months in detention.

In June he startled his Twitter followers by posting a despairing message prompting concern over the state of his four-year marriage to wife Joanne. He wrote: "My day could not have been worse. Suicide is a considered option." Earlier he had posted: "Is death the end? Or is there more?"

The following week the problems appeared to have eased when he issued a more optimistic tweet.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment & HR Administrator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Business Partner

£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...

Recruitment Genius: Senior HR Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company's vision is to be t...

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate