The bankruptcy of the Kika/Leiner furniture store is spreading, so now the FPÖ is calling for a subcommittee in parliament. However, AKV Europa reported on Wednesday morning that the insolvency court had appointed a special administrator. Viennese lawyer and insolvency law expert Stefan Riel is set to handle allegations that have been circulating in the media and to examine any claims against shareholders and organs as well as any third party before the insolvency commences.
Formerly appointed insolvency officer Volker Leitner should focus primarily on operational business, and the private administrator is not bound by any of his instructions. Riel was already involved in insolvency proceedings relating to Albin Pau. Two weeks after the sale of two furniture stores by Rene Benko’s Signa Group, the buyer, investor Hermann Wieser, filed for bankruptcy. After that it became known that Kika and Leyner had been making losses for years.
According to the AKV, the special administrator was also appointed so that “the time-consuming and costly examination of potential claims does not jeopardize the normal course of insolvency proceedings”. The insolvency experts at AKV assume that the special administrator’s focus will be primarily on claims due to potential delays in the insolvency and merger of Kika Möbelhandelsgesellschaft mbH and Rudolf Leiner Gesellschaft mbH. In the Judicial Bankruptcy File (Fatwa File), Riel’s job is to be responsible for “examining the causes of the financial collapse”.
Call an inquiry
In any case, when Albin Construction Group went bankrupt in 2013 – the largest bankruptcy for the Second Republic at that time – creditors had to be patient. Only three years later the first of them saw the money, and after another three years the exploitation was largely complete. At the time, the rate was 13.5%, and €1.6 billion worth of claims had been recognized. About 8,500 suppliers and other creditors, as well as 6,483 employees, were affected by the Alpine bankruptcy. Anyway, there was a KSV1870 tribute to the insolvency manager at the time, Stéphane Riel. He acted with much more success in achieving bankruptcy than originally feared, according to the loan sharks.
FPÖ took today’s furniture store bankruptcy as an opportunity to call for a parliamentary commission of inquiry. Liberal General Secretary Christian Haffnecker said on Wednesday in Vienna that exploratory talks have begun with SPÖ and positive signals are being received. He located “another ÖVP scandal of the first order” and possible advantages or even abuse of position in the sense of investor Rene Benko and his Signa, which Kika/Leiner sold shortly before bankruptcy.
A subcommittee should start “relatively soon in the fall.” A quick start is necessary, “otherwise the big shredder will be restarted again at the ÖVP” before ordering files, according to the Freedom Party.
Already 1096 layoffs
According to the insolvency director at Kika/Leitner, 1,096 employees from the now-closed branches have been notified to AMS for termination. Other affected personnel from the areas of Logistics and Central Administration will follow step by step by the end of September 2023 at the latest. The APA said today that the payroll is guaranteed through the Insolvency Payments Guarantee Fund, which also affects all private payments.
With a slight delay, the military has now also joined the ranks of those offering jobs to the fired Kika/Leiner employees. “It is possible to apply as a warehouse worker, warehouse manager, forklift driver, material manager, carpenter, saddlebag, cook or unskilled laborer and work on logistics sites throughout Austria,” says the military. A minimum of 2000 gross per month will be offered as salary. Austrian citizenship is required.
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