Four Austrian promoters alleged to have run businesses in breach of the country’s bankruptcy laws are due to stand trial at the end of September.
Wolfgang Klinger, Heimo Hanserl, Christian Dorrer and Manfred Leodalter will appear at Vienna’s criminal court Sept. 22.
The Vienna state prosecutor’s office confirmed that all four promoters were notified of the charges and the trial date and that all four have legal representation.
Klinger and Hanserl ran the now bankrupt Rock & More Veranstaltungs and Rock & More Beteilegunts companies. Dorrer was managing director of the second Rock & More and Leodolter is chief exec of Show Connection.
Vienna magistrate Gerhard Jarosch told Pollstar that Klinger and Hanserl face criminal charges for running a company in what’s legally referred to as “de lege artis,” which he explained as “doing things in an irresponsible way and without proper governance.” He said the charge is usually brought against people who’ve “traded recklessly” and continued to trade when their companies were insolvent.
Dorrer and Leodalter face a lesser charge of failing to run companies with correct governance, including failing to pay the government the staff’s tax and national insurance contributions on time.
The charges were originally filed before Judge Boehn in the Vienna criminal court April 23 and, having considered the evidence, on July 15 he ruled the matter should go to trial and set the date.
The charges were laid after an anonymous tip led to a 16-month police investigation that focused on many of the key players in the country’s live music industry.
Leodolter says he 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. Even then, they ran separate companies under the PGA umbrella.
Before receiving notification that he would face trial, Leodolter admitted to being questioned by police when the investigation started but said he hadn’t heard anything from the authorities for more than a year.
Klinger, who has always protested his innocence, says he doesn’t feel it necessary to comment right now but is sure he’ll have something to say after the trial. The other three defendants weren’t available for comment at press time.