Leading promoters stand accused of colluding with Viagogo to ‘remove tickets from the official market’ and sell them on at inflated prices.
Live Nation Italia’s MD Roberto De Luca and director general Antonella Lodi were among those to appear at a preliminary court hearing in Milan on 13 November, reports regional newspaper La Stampa.
Corrado Rizzotto, who was at Vivo Concerti at the time of the accusation, but is now head of Indipendente Concerti, also appeared, alongside Di and Gi’s Domenico d’Allesandro and Charles Roest of Viagogo.
The five defendants appearing before judge Maria Vicidomini were accused of ‘fraud against the state’ for not having paid taxes and performance royalties in full, in what has been described as ‘insider trading’.
They are also accused of selling tickets at extortionate prices and spreading “false information causing an alteration of the market”, following an investigation that began two years ago.
At the preliminary hearing, prosecutor Adriano Scudieri requested custodial sentences of up to 16 months for the five defendants.
As well as the four promoters and Viagogo administrator, the companies Di and Gi, which sold a 60 per cent stake to German ticketing company CTS Eventim earlier this year (see Audience, issue 217), Live Nation Italia, Live Nation 2 and Vivo stand accused.
An official close to the case tells Audience the prosecution relates to an alleged agreement between the promoters and Viagogo.
“We believe that some concert organisers in Italy – Live Nation, D’Alessandro and Galli [Di & Gi] – have signed an agreement with Viagogo to remove tickets from the official market and sell them on the secondary market,” says the source.
“So, for example, they avoided paying all the rights due for public performances and they have profited more, to the detriment of consumers.”
At the time of going to press, the case had been adjourned until 5 December and is expected to conclude in January 2019.