Businessman in kidnapping case gets community service plea bargain ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Businessman Meelis Lao will be handed a 238-hour community service sentence, should a plea bargain in an unlawful deprivation of liberty case be approved.
Businessman Meelis Lao will be handed a 238-hour community service sentence, should a plea bargain in an unlawful deprivation of liberty case be approved. Source: SCANPIX PRESS

Businessman Meelis Lao has been handed a 238-hour community service sentence after being charged with unlawful deprivation of liberty. The sentence replaces an eight-month jail term, as a result of a plea bargain, Baltic News Service reports.

The agreement, established with the Office of the Prosecutor General, follows a November 2017 case in which a 42-year-old man was held captive, repeatedly beaten and threatened with physical abuse on both his own person and family members, as well as a demand for one million euros, according to spokesperson Olga Kivistik.

The settlement also sees co-accused Viktor Tiuliukov face a six-year jail sentence, five years of which are suspended.

Two other men, Siim Kossar, 28, and Mark Raul Laanela, 45, face 728 hours' community service, and a conditional five-year jail sentence respectively, for their part in the crime. The men were all apprehended by the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) on May 6, with Tiuliukov being placed in custody, BNS reports.

Kossar stands accused of unlawful deprivation of liberty, with Lao, 53, charged with aiding and abetting. Laanela and Tiuliukov stand accused of large-scale extortion and deprivation of liberty, as well as armed robbery in the latter's case, it is reported.

While the pre-trial procedure was led by the prosecutor general's office, it is up to the courts whether to approve the sentence deal. This is due to take place on Aug. 21.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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