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Court confiscates TJ Group owners' properties worth tens of millions of euros
The Helsinki District Court ordered on Wednesday the confiscation of some assets of the largest owners of IT services company TJ Group to the tune of tens of millions of euros. This confiscation is the largest in Finnish legal history. The court approved the arguments of the prosecutor and police that based on suspected violations of insider trading legislation there is reason to confiscate some properties of Tuomo Tilman and Jyrki Salminen. These properties include real estate and luxury houses.
In practice, the target for the confiscation includes the EUR 130 million that Salminen and Tilman earned in the sale of the company's stock in 2000.
After the stock trading, the share price of TJ Group began to decline rapidly, and the company - one of those widely touted in the Internet stock boom around the turn of the millennium - posted losses of EUR 1 million in that fiscal period.
Helsinki Criminal Police suspect that Tilman and Salminen gained their profits by aggravated insider trading. Moreover, the State Prosecutor filed charges against Tilman and Salminen already last week. They were accused of crimes related to the dissemination of information in connection with the same deals.
Salminen said two weeks ago that the police are calling for the confiscation of nearly all of the money earned in the sale of shares.
The alleged insider trading violation charges will be heard in court next summer, for according to the District Court, the charges against the suspects will have to be pressed on June 8th at the latest. This will be the first trial in Finland that is related to the wild years of the Internet stock feeding-frenzy.
During the same trial, the court will also decide whether TJ Group will have to forfeit the EUR 39 million the company was said to have accrued from the illegal activities. Moreover, prosecutors are calling for a fine of EUR 200,000. However, appeals to a higher court can postpone the payment decision.
In practical terms, it is the Helsinki District Bailiff who will carry out the confiscation, and the related information will be recorded in the land register.
The confiscation will apparently cover even the 52% of TJ Group's shares that Tilman and Salminen currently own.
Particularly Salminen is well known for his use of money. His hobbies include rally-driving and motorcycling. He even bought a Ferrari in 2000, which was the year of global Internet stock delirium, with IPOs for software companies and content-providers following one another on an almost daily basis.
Furthermore, Salminen is reported to have bought real estate and luxury residences worth millions of euros.
On the other hand, Tuomo Tilman is less well-known in public, but even he is said to have bought real estate, including a fishing resort on an island off the coast near Kotka in south-eastern Finland. He also owns a prestige property in Helsinki's Munkkiniemi, which he has been trying to sell for some time already, with a price-tag of some EUR 2.5 million.