Father says wife's partner knows location of abducted daughter

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The French father of a 3-year-old girl kidnapped in France March 20 said Monday that the location of his daughter is known to his ex-wife's common-law husband.
PARIS, March 30 (RIA Novosti) - The French father of a 3-year-old girl kidnapped in France March 20 said Monday that the location of his daughter is known to his ex-wife's common-law husband.

"Vladislav Sergeyevich Isayev knows exactly where my daughter Elise Andre is, as he knows exactly where Irina Belenkaya is," Jean-Michel Andre said in a statement sent to RIA Novosti.

Elise, who has Russian and French citizenship, was snatched from her father in Arles, in southern France, on March 20 by three attackers, one of whom Andre said was his former wife, Irina Belenkaya. He was severely beaten in the attack.

French police organized an international man hunt for Belenkaya following the abduction. If arrested outside Russia, Belenkaya could face up to three years in prison. However, under Russian law, she cannot be extradited.

The French father received messages from Belenkaya's email address earlier saying she was in Russia. However, investigators believe they could have been sent by one of Belenkaya's friends or relatives in an attempt to throw police off the scent.

The estranged couple has been embroiled in a "tug-of-war" for custody of their daughter for two years, with Russian and French courts siding with their nationals in the dispute.

Andre was awarded custody by a French court following the couple's divorce in 2007. After his wife left the country taking her daughter with her, a warrant for her arrest was issued in 2008.

Belenkaya was subsequently awarded custody of Elise by a Russian court in 2008.

Andre hired private detectives to trace his wife and child. He learnt Russian and traveled to Moscow to secretly take his daughter back to France. After the kidnapping, a Russian court issued a warrant for Andre's arrest.

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