Elderly Germans Kidnap Their Financial Adviser and For Some Reason Are Charged With a Crime

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The Reuters report starts out like this:

BERLIN (Reuters) – Four elderly Germans went on trial on Monday charged with kidnapping their financial adviser and holding him prisoner in a basement in an attempt to recover 2.5 million euros (2.19 million pounds) in lost savings, a court spokesman said.

I read on, hoping to learn what the defendants had supposedly done wrong:

They are accused of seizing the financial adviser, 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 500 km (300 miles) to the Bavarian town of Chieming. . . . There they tried to force him to transfer large sums of money to them.

Still reading . . . .

The banker tried to escape but suffered two broken ribs from one of those charged, a 74-year-old man.

Oh. Well, I don't condone violence, even against financial advisers, so I guess this really is a criminal matter.

The report did not say why the senior citizens held the financial adviser personally responsible for the lost savings, but they clearly did.  It isn't clear how long he was held, but he was able to get a message out ("Sell 100 Call Pol.ICE today please!") while pretending to make financial transactions.  Police commandos later freed him from the senior citizens.

Their defense attorney conceded they had broken the law – maybe not the ideal defense strategy, although there are times when you need to concede a point — but said it had been an act of desperation.  "They feared there was no legal way to get their money back," he said, "and so they did what one should not do — committed a crime."  Again, that statement might turn out to be a little awkward given that at least one of the defendants has denied kidnapping — he said they had simply invited the man for "a few days holiday in Bavaria."

I don't have a financial adviser because I am perfectly capable of losing large amounts of money on my own, but I'm guessing there are some readers who would like to see their financial adviser get at least a few days holiday in a Bavarian basement.

Link: Reuters
Link: PRI