German investors to sue Baan brothers

A group of 750 German investors is joining a Dutch lawsuit against Jan and Paul Baan, the founders of failed business software supplier Baan.

          A group of 750 German investors is joining a Dutch lawsuit against Jan and Paul Baan, the founders of failed business software supplier Baan.

          That brings to more than 1500 the number of plaintiffs trying to recover cash from the Baan brothers, Rien van Hoeven, chairman of Stichting de Keursteen (Touchstone Foundation), which is organising the lawsuit, said this week.

          Van Hoeven says the original plaintiffs are all members of the Gereformeerde Gemeenten Church, a strictly Calvinist sect, to which the Baan brothers also belong. Secular shareholders have since joined the action, he adds.

          The lawsuit comes as Invensys has completed its acquisition of Baan, assumed management control, and announced personnel layoffs. The UK software automation and controls group offered 2.85 euros ($US2.57) per Baan share. The plaintiffs bought their shares for as much as 40 euros each, said van Hoeven.

          He characterised the Baan brothers as running a pyramid scheme to defraud investors.

          "These people have many foundations and corporations, an octopus around the whole world," he says.

          "The money from the Baan Co. ended up outside the company; that was the problem. And the people (released) nonstop very misty information regarding their financial way of doing."

          Van Hoeven says his group, which investigates financial misdeeds in religious circles, has already succeeded in jailing 12 people for fraud in other cases. Of the Baan brothers, he says, "When you meet them, they are very gentle, well-dressed, very religious, pray for every piece of bread, and they are doing nothing without the Lord of the heavens. But in the meantime they do what they want."

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