BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) _ Three armed men kidnapped one of Argentina's leading industrialists from his chauffeur-driven car in an affluent suburb, federal police said Thursday.

Police officials, declining to be identified, said the abduction Wednesday of Enrique Menotti Pescarmona, 42, was being treated as a kidnap for ransom.

Relatives held a news conference Thursday after the abduction was reported and said Menotti Pescarmona was not kidnapped, but only badly beaten in a robbery and set free. They said he was resting at a country home outside Buenos Aires.

Police, however, said the victim was still being held captive. In addition, the official news agency Telam said relatives admitted that the kidnap occurred when they were questioned by police and court investigators.

Menotti Pescarmona is a top executive of a family-owned company, Industrias Metalurgicas Pescarmona, one of Argentina's largest manufacturers of steel products. It specializes in large parts for hydroelectric projects.

Police said the executive was abducted in San Isidro, a posh neighborhood five miles north of Buenos Aires.

According to witnesses' accounts, his car was forced to the curb by another automobile, and three men armed with handguns jumped out. The victim was forced into the other car, and beaten when he resisted.

According to local newspapers, a note explaining the terms of Menotti Pescarmona's release was left with the chauffeur, who was not harmed.

Newspapers said the letter demanded $5 million in ransom.