MONTREAL — A man kidnapped at gunpoint under mysterious circumstances from his home near Montreal and later released is the president of the Cora breakfast restaurant chain, the company confirmed Thursday.
Nicholas Tsouflidis was nabbed Wednesday night in Mirabel, north of Montreal. A passerby found the bound businessman in a ditch in Laval.
The unnamed witness told Montreal radio station 98.5 FM the victim didn't appear to know where he was and repeatedly stated he'd been kidnapped.
A signpost outside a precinct of Quebec's provincial police. (Photo: Emelie Rivard-Boudreau/Radio-Canada)
Quebec provincial police spokesman Sgt. Claude Denis said the victim was taken to hospital as a preventive measure. Police did not formally identify the victim and say they are working to verify his version of events.
A senior member of the breakfast chain's executive confirmed the details reported by numerous media. Lucie Normandin, vice-president of the Cora Group, said it will be up to police to determine why Tsouflidis, 44, was kidnapped.
"Nicholas is fine,'' Normandin said in an interview, adding she'd just spoken to him. "Like the news said, he was kidnapped and he was released. Someone found him.''
She said Tsouflidis was questioned by police before his release.
Asked if there was any known motive for the incident, Normandin was categoric.
"No, not at all,'' she said.
Cora Tsouflidou, founder of the breakfast restaurant chain Chez Cora, in Laval, Que., Oct. 29, 2014. Tsouflidou's youngest son, Nicholas Tsouflidis, was the target of a kidnapping Wednesday. (Photo: Canadian Press/Mario Beauregard)
Tsouflidis is the youngest son of founder Cora Mussely Tsouflidou, who opened her first small diner in May 1987 in Montreal's Saint-Laurent borough, taking over a defunct snack bar.
The chain now counts a total of 130 locations across Canada, including more than 50 in Quebec.
Tsouflidis took over as president in 2008 after holding numerous positions in the restaurant since its inception.
Provincial police are investigating. Authorities have not released any information about a possible suspect.