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Last updated at 14:37 GMT, Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Pensioners accused of kidnapping

Summary

10 February 2010

Four pensioners have appeared in court accused of kidnapping their financial advisor.

The pensioners allegedly blamed him for losing two and a half million euros of their money during the recent financial crisis.

Reporter:
Steve Rosenberg:

Euros

The pensioners lost millions of euros

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Report

In Germany, if you think your financial advisor has been giving you bad advice and messing up your investments, you can complain to the regulators, you can go to the police. But in Bavaria, one group of pensioners stands accused of employing a much more direct method of registering their dissatisfaction. They're on trial for kidnapping their financial advisor and holding him hostage.

Four senior citizens, aged between 63 and 79, had invested nearly three and a half million dollars in the US property market and lost it all in the sub-prime mortgage meltdown. They'd concluded that the man who'd handled the investment should now reimburse them.

According to prosecutors, last summer the pensioner posse plus one accomplice abducted the financial advisor outside his house, tied him, gagged him, put him in a box and transported him in the boot of a car 450 kilometres to a lakeside retreat.

He claims to have spent four days locked in the cellar there and to have been tortured. After agreeing to their demands, the prisoner was allowed to send a fax to Switzerland arranging payment. He concealed the phrase 'call the Police' in the text and the alarm was raised. Soon after a crack team of commandos came to the rescue.

On the opening day of the trial, the 74 year old alleged ringleader of the gang avoided using the word 'kidnap'. He said he and his co-defendants had only wanted to treat their guest to a couple of days holiday in Bavaria.

Steve Rosenberg, BBC News, Berlin

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Vocabulary

messing up

spoiling, causing problems for

the regulators

officially appointed people who make sure that rules are followed within an industry or organisation

registering their dissatisfaction

making it known how unhappy they are

holding him hostage

capturing and keeping him until they get what they want

the sub-prime mortgage meltdown

the financial crisis caused by too many unpaid home loans that are owed to banks around the world

the pensioner posse

the group or gang of retired people working together

accomplice

someone who helps another person to commit a crime

abducted

kidnapped, illegally took someone away

gagged him

tied a piece of cloth over his mouth or put it inside his mouth to stop him from speaking or calling for help

a crack team of commandos

a highly skilled team of soldiers, specially trained to carry out raids and rescue people who are being held hostage

co-defendants

other people also accused of committing the crime

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