25 Oct, 2022 @ 17:00
1 min read

Four arrested in Spain over violent kidnap and torture of social network founder Zaryn Dentzel

'tens Of Millions' Of Bitcoin Stolen From Us Entrepreneur At His Madrid Home In Spain

SPAIN’S National Police have made four arrests over the violent attack in November 2021 on Zaryn Dentzel, the founder of Spanish social network Tuenti.

The suspects, three men and a woman, are facing charges for kidnap, violent robbery, assault, threatening behaviour and fraud over the incident. 

They are accused of forcing their way into the Madrid home of the 38-year-old American, armed with a Taser and knives, with the intent of stealing the passwords to his digital bitcoin wallets, “which contained more than €25 million”, according to the police. 

The masked gang held the tech entrepreneur hostage and tortured him for four hours. They also used pepper spray on an employee of Dentzel’s who was in the home. 

After they failed to get access to the digital currency they were after, they took with them other valuable objects such as bank cards, watches and a safe. 

The police finally tracked down the suspects after nearly a year of investigations. The task was complicated by the fact that they did not all previously know each other and had only associated to carry out the crime. 

Investigators had to check 11,000 taxis of the same make and model after the suspects were seen getting into one of these vehicles in security camera footage, according to Spanish TV channel Antena 3.

Speaking on Monday to the Antena 3 show Espejo Público, Dentzel explained that news of the arrests meant that it would be “the first time in a year that I am going to sleep peacefully in my house”. 

The tech entrepreneur founded Tuenti, a Spanish social network similar to Facebook, after a study period in Spain. The website attracted millions of users and was eventually purchased by telecoms company Telefónica for €70 million. In 2016, the social network itself was closed down and the company remained as a mobile phone carrier. 

Before the attack Dentzel was living between the United States and Spain, but in the wake of the crime he opted to stay in Santa Barbara over the last year until his return this week to Madrid.

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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