For months the courts have been dealing with the case of Peter Barthold against Novomatic. The former football profit and goalkeeper of Rapid Vienna accused the gambling company in the past about him to have transferred bribes to the then BZÖ politician Peter Westenthaler. He even described himself as a regular hub in the field of payment services, with 4.500 euros each monthly from Novomatic to the Austrian deputy. The background of this whole story, which seems like a bad crime film, is to be a promise of the then Novomatic boss Franz Wohlfahrt to Peter Barthold. After the disappearance of his business foundation, the former goalkeeper operated a total of 10 casinos in Vienna before the “Kleine gambling “was forbidden to provide financial support. The former boss, the group known for his Novoline automatic games, and the former politician Westenthaler also involved in this story vehemently denied the allegations. In addition, the now reigning supreme head of Novomatic, Harald Neumann made in an interview with the online newspaper “Die Presses” the bombshell that Peter Barthold in the past, the company sought to extort it. He would turn to the public and to the courts with incriminating material, and Novomatic would not give him a million-strong amount, according to Neumann, threatened Bathold. The group did not pay and the ex-goalkeeper went to court, but now a spectacular turnaround in this case, which Thomas Barthold could end up paying dearly.
The longer the court between Barthold and Novomatic was led in court, the former Rapid Wien goalkeeper was inconsistent with his entire line of argument and finally had to concede that there was never any commitment from the former boss Franz Wohlfahrt about compensation have. To correct the former allegations as misrepresentations did not exactly strengthen the credibility of the plaintiff, who wanted to win several million euros from Novomatic in the civil legal process? Lies have, as is well known, short legs and not infrequently on the person concerned back and also in this case now the pendulum completely swings. As the news portal Money.oe24 reports now display against Peter Barthold coercion and extortion was filed. This was presented by the Omni Media Company, represented by Gert Schmidt. For many years he has been a recognized expert on the scene, who has also investigated the case of Barthold against Novomatic. In his research, Schmidt found out that the ex-footballer himself was a gambler and in the past years tens of millions of euros in various casinos have to have. These losses led him to bankruptcy and as early as 2013 the Novomatic plan matured in him and constructed burdensome material. This would be in line with the statements of Novomatic CEO, Harald Neumann. The competent authorities have now begun their work in this case.
In addition to the spectacular turn in the process with Peter Bathold and the alleged bribe payment to Austrian BZ politicians, the pendulum also in another area now in favor of Novomatic. In 2012, Lower Austria’s Novomatic subsidiary Admiral Casinos & Entertainment was granted the concession to operate more than 1,000 game machines in the federal state, but was withdrawn by the administrative court in June due to formal errors. Several competitors had filed a complaint, including the Gauselmann Group, since they were not granted any access to the files during the entire selection process for the concession. After the withdrawal of permission to the “little gambling game” in Lower Austria, Novomatic got a 18-month grace period in which all game machines can be continued for the time being. The state was now compelled to respond, on the basis of its own formal error. The options offered here were either a new call for tenders or a remedy for the grievances committed. Lower Austria now decided, entirely to the friend of Novomatic, for the second option, and now granted the requisite files to all the co-workers of that time. According to the files, the concept of the Austrian gaming group was most likely to be concerned with the protection of the game or the responsible use of advertising, and thus a possible further complaint, by the competitors, hardly gives any opportunities. For Novomatic, this means that the Group is on the safe side until March 9, 2027, when operating its more than 1,000 gaming machines in Lower Austria.
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