Former Rock & More chiefs Heimo Hanserl, Wolfgang Klinger and Christian Dorrer are to face trial over the way they ran the company, the Vienna state prosecutor’s office confirmed.
Hanserl and Klinger face criminal charges for running the company in what’s legally referred to as “de lege artis,” which Vienna magistrate Gerhard Jarosch explained as “doing things in an irresponsible way and without proper governance.”
Jarosch said the charge is usually brought against people who’ve “traded recklessly” and continued to trade even when their companies were insolvent.
Klinger has maintained that he’s done nothing wrong and can’t be held responsible for the failure of either version of Rock & More because he was only a consultant.
Dorrer faces a lesser charge of failing to run Rock & More Beteilegunts (or Rock & More 2) with correct governance, including failing to pay the government the staff’s tax and national insurance contributions.
The charges were filed before Judge Andreas Boehn in the Vienna criminal court April 23, and came after a 16-month investigation that focused on many key players in the country’s live music industry.
A similar charge is being brought against former Austrian Promoters Group (PGA) director Manfred Leodolter, now head of Show Connection. He says he’s not been made aware of it and has never had any connection with either of the Rock & More companies.
Leodolter allegedly hasn’t had any business dealings with Klinger since he left the Austrian Promoters Group (PGA) before its euro 2.5 million collapse in 2002. He said he was questioned by police when the investigation started but hasn’t heard anything from the authorities for more than a year.
Under Austrian law, there’s no obligation for the authorities to notify the defendants until the trial date is set.
Judge Boehn is expected to do that in the middle of June, which would mean the case would likely come to court before the end of the summer.
The others among the 10 originally under scrutiny but no longer suspected of any wrongdoing were mainly – like Leodolter – former PGA execs, including Andi Egger, now chief exec at the CTS Eventim-owned Osterreich Ticket, Wiesen festival site owner Franz Bogner and promoters and agents Peter Froestl and his wife Susanne.
Also eliminated from the inquiries are former Rock & More 1 chief exec Manfred Trojer, who took over the company and renamed it just before it went bankrupt, and well-known Austrian actor and film director Paulus Manker.
Manker’s inclusion on the list was somewhat surprising but the state prosecutor’s office wouldn’t shed any light on what connection he could have had with PGA or either of the now bankrupt Rock & Mores.