Red Bull blackmail suspect held in Austria
Vienna, April 11, 2013
Austrian police have detained a man suspected of blackmailing beverage and sports marketing giant Red Bull by threatening to contaminate its drinks, a newspaper reported on Thursday.
Kurier, without citing its sources, said the man had fled from an attempt by go-betweens to hand him extorted money near Vienna's landmark St Stephen's Cathedral while police watched.
Police later arrested him on Wednesday in the neighbouring province of Lower Austria, it said, without giving details.
Privately owned Red Bull said last month blackmailers had threatened to lace its energy drinks with faecal matter unless it paid up. Checks at stores where they said they had put contaminated drinks had found nothing.
The Austrian company referred queries on the reported arrest to police in its home province of Salzburg, who declined comment ahead of a news conference later on Thursday. Prosecutors were not immediately available.
Red Bull's co-founder, Dieter Mateschitz, has a net worth of $7.1 billion, making him Austria's richest person and number 162 in the world, according to Forbes magazine.
The company, whose products are especially popular with young people, is known for its elaborate marketing and association with extreme sports. - Reuters