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Four Men Handed Prison Sentences in €12 Million Baku Investment Affair

Harju County Court today sentenced four men to prison for misleading investors in a 12-million-euro investment project in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.

Erik Piirsalu and Tõnis Haavel, both 43 will have to serve six months in prison and accomplices Harles Liiv, 41, and Šarunas Skyrius, 36, both three months. All four men were also handed suspended sentences to take effect after release from prison. The men will also have to pay back 11.8 million euros to 31 investors, ranging from 1,000 to 4 million euros per investor.

According to the ruling, the four men, and a company, Gild Financial Advisory Service (AS GFAS), which was fined 150,000 euros, deceived investors on an investment project in Baku. The project was to buy a large plot of land in the city, build infrastructure and draw up a development plan, then sell the plot.

Investments were not used for the agreed purpose, the court found.

Investors, including household names such as Hans H. Luik, Marcel Vichmann and Olari Taal, paid a total of 12 million euros to the group, failing to see a profit nor the investment returned.

The court handed the group harsher sentences than demanded by the prosecution.

Lawyers for the men said there was no criminal intent and they will appeal.

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