Experts To Study Promoters’ Books

The police investigation into Rock & More and Austrian Promoters’ Group looks set to drag on longer as the Vienna state prosecutor has called in financial experts to examine the companies’ books.

The move has frustrated Wolfgang Klinger, a former APG director and a consultant for both versions of Rock & More. He said it means he’ll have to wait even longer to clear his name.

"These investigations are harming my work and contacts," he told Pollstar after the state prosecutor’s office revealed the experts’ inquiry "might take a few months."

"Based on an anonymous letter and after all these weeks I still do not know what they are going for, and I also believe that the prosecutor does not see anything that’s been wrongly done," Klinger said.

"There have been a lot of disappointments in the last months, especially when you are losing work because of these stories, sometimes supported by e-mails from competitors or their suppliers," he said.

"E-mails with unproven stories are not only being sent to the media, but also to a lot of agents. These continual needle pricks are creating a picture that things are not right. The only thing I can do is to keep telling people these stories are not true.

"If a person is described for months as being ‘under suspicion’ it is not really an image booster," Klinger said.

Although the state prosecutor’s office has declined to reveal the nature of the investigation, the list of people interviewed and also technically under suspicion would suggest it goes back to the breakup of the Austrian Promoters’ Group in 2002 – before Rock & More existed as a company.

It began December 14 when the prosecutor’s office received an "anonymous" letter that led staff to believe the country’s financial laws may have been broken.

Apart from Klinger, former APG directors Manfred Leodolter, Franz Bogner and Peter Froestl have also been questioned by the Staatsanwaltschaft Wien.

So has former APG advisory board member and current Österreich Ticket chief exec Andi Egger, Heimo Hanserl, head of both Rock & More companies, former Rock & More Beteilegungs (Rock & More 2) managing director Chris Dorrer, and Manfred Trojer.

Trojer took over Rock & More Veranstaltungs (Rock & More 1) from Hanserl August 12, 2006, changed the company name to MT Veranstaltungs and then filed it for insolvency – with estimated debts of euro 2 million – at the Vienna bankruptcy court October 27, 10 weeks after he’d taken over the reins.

Dorrer and Klinger left Rock & More 2 in January, two weeks before new owners Vienna-based Lenox Management and Amsterdam-based Lavinia B.V. – who bought the company from Hanserl May 2007 – filed it for bankruptcy.

The other two people on the police list of 10 are Susanne Froestl, wife and business partner of Peter Froestl, and well-known Austrian actor and film director Paulus Manker. Klinger appears to be the only one whose business is under a cloud.

The prosecutor’s office wouldn’t reveal what connection Manker, a controversial and award-winning filmmaker, may have had with APG or Rock & More.

Richard Hoermann, who put APG together and has forged a new working relationship with John Giddings of Solo, now part of Live Nation again, hasn’t been questioned but denied he’s the mystery informer that sparked the police probe.

The Vienna fraud squad was called in to investigate the disappearance of about euro 2 million from APG’s company accounts. An audit by corporate recovery specialists KPMG confirmed that amount is missing.