Olympic figure skater jailed over kidnap plot

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The Independent Online

An Austrian court has sentenced a former Olympic figure-skating champion to eight years in prison for plotting to kidnap the daughter of a Romanian businessman and hold her for ransom.

Wolfgang Schwarz, 59, confessed to the charges after previously denying them. A prosecutor said Schwarz was motivated by "greed and selfishness" in plotting the abduction and hiring someone to commit the crime, which was never carried out.

The 1968 Olympic champion had faced up to 20 years in prison.

"OK, I admit it was my idea to kidnap the woman. I cannot explain it," the Austria Press Agency quoted Schwarz as telling the court during questioning yesterday.

In December, Schwarz was acquitted of separate charges that he allegedly brought young Lithuanian girls to Austria to work as prostitutes.

He was convicted on similar trafficking charges in 2002, when he admitted bringing in five women from Russia and Lithuania to work as prostitutes.

At that time, he was sentenced to one-and-a-half years in jail, but the sentence was postponed because he was suffering from the side-effects of treatment for skin cancer. AP