An audacious kidnapping in 1970s Paris

History Extra podcast

26-01-2023 • 44 mins

On 23 January 1978, Baron Édouard-Jean Empain was snatched from the streets of Paris, in an audacious kidnapping attempt. Before long, a ransom of 80 million francs was demanded. And to show they meant business, the kidnappers chopped off the baron’s little finger – with the disturbing warning that more body parts would follow. In conversation with Emily Briffett, Tom Sancton charts the two tangled months of the kidnapping case, which led to a bloody shootout and ultimately triggered the fall of an industrial giant, the Empain dynasty. (Ad) Tom Sancton is the author of The Last Baron: The Paris Kidnapping That Brought Down an Empire (Dutton, 2022). Buy it now from Amazon: Hosted on Acast. See for more information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

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