TALLINN - The Harju County Court took businessman Andrus Sukles into custody for six months under suspicion of ordering the murder of his former business partner, Tullio Liblik. According to Estonia’s Police Northern Prefecture Criminal Bureau chief Priit Parkna, Sukles was arrested on Aug. 27 after evidence was collected. “This prevented a cruel murder,” said Parkna.
State Prosecutor Sven-Hristo Evestus said that the Harju County Court issued the warrant for the arrest. “We’ve classified this as [an attempted] murder with a personal motive. It cannot be denied that the motive was connected to business dealings between Sukles and Liblik.”
Contract killings are not a foreign activity for Sukles. In 1999, he himself was the target of one, though in that case it did not make it to court.
Criminal bureau chief Parkna could not say whether the potential victim was aware of the plot against him. “Arguments and fights between the two go back a long way.”
The amount paid for the hit was not released by investigators. Sukles made a mistake in choosing the hit man. “The person involved has done a variety of work with police organizations and in this instance he gave testimony as a witness,” said the state prosecutor.
The punishment for ordering a murder carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Last fall, Sukles referred to Liblik in the press as a “slug,” “thief,” and a “weed.” Liblik sued for 12,782 euros to compensate for claimed defamation of character. Sukles justified the name-calling by saying that his business partner had cheated him and had polluted the business climate.
Liblik held a press conference on Aug. 30 where he told journalists that “Sukles had threatened me already in 2007, when in March he brought a proposal, which was a relatively confusing list of calculations, and at the end were seven points regarding what he planned to do if I didn’t consent to his demands.”
The eighth point, according to Liblik, said that if he rejected the demands, Sukles would send “people” who would “carry things through to the end.”
Liblik said he did not at the time take the matter seriously enough. “It was my mistake.”
Harju County Court decided in July that Sukles must pay Liblik 639 euros in damages, plus cover Liblik’s court fees.