F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone's mother-in-law 'kidnapped for ransom'

Fabiana Flosi with husband Bernie Ecclestone - Flosi's mother has reportedly been kidnapped in Sao Paulo Credit: PA

Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone's mother-in-law has been kidnapped in Sao Paulo and criminals are demanding around $36.5 million in ransom, according to reports.

Aparecida Schunck, the mother of Ecclestone's wife, Fabiana Flosi, was seized on Friday night, Brazilian news magazine Veja and other news organizations have reported.

It did not give more details, and local police could not be reached to confirm the reports.

Ecclestone, one of the most powerful men in sport, married Flosi in 2012, three years after meeting her at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Ecclestone, who is now 85, divorced his then wife of 25 years, Croatian model Slavica Radic, in order to marry the young Brazilian. The couple now live in England.

Along with his family, Ecclestone is worth an estimated $3.1 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

Kidnapping was common in Brazil a decade ago with several people seized each day, often for sums of just a few hundred dollars.

A crackdown by police, including the formation of a special anti-kidnap division, reduced the number considerably, and the crime has become much rarer.

Brazil is currently in the midst of its worst economic crisis in almost a century.