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German Seniors Kidnap & Imprison Banker Over Lost Savings

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By Robert Clarkson on February 12, 2010 8:45 AM

reports that four German seniors went on trial on Monday accused of kidnapping their financial adviser and holding him prisoner in a basement. The men held the adviser responsible for losing them 2.5 million euros ($3.4million) in savings.

Defence attorney Harald Baumgaertl told ARD television the seniors acted out of desperation: "They feared there was no legal way to get their money back and so they did what one should not do - committed a crime."

The prosecution allege the pensioners seized the banker, a 56-year-old man, outside his apartment in the western town of Speyer, binding and gagging him and bundling him into the boot of a car before driving him some 300 miles to the Bavarian town of Chieming.

After arriving in Chieming, the men hoped to force the financier to transfer large sums of money to them. He resisted, however, and suffered two broken ribs trying to escape.

But his smarts won out in the end. In one remittance order, the banker included the message: "Sell 100 Call Pol.ICE today please!" The person receiving the order alerted police and an elite commando unit freed the man.

The police have identified a 74-year-old man as the ringleader behind the kidnapping. He denies they did anything wrong, however, saying they merely invited the man for a "few days holiday in Bavaria."

Not enough to convince Bavarian prosecutors in the town of Traunstein. They've charged the seniors - aged 60 to 79 - with kidnapping and complicity. State prosecutor Guenther Hammerdinger told ARD television the accused face jail terms of 5 to 15 years if convicted.

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