German fund operator files for insolvency

BERLIN — Germany’s Victory Media, the fund operator and TV production company investigated on suspicion of tax fraud and violating investor trust, has filed for insolvency.

Company’s decision comes after two unsuccessful court cases, including one against TV licensing group EM.TV, that cost Victory more than e6 million ($7.7 million). The Victory Media statement did not give any more details about the court cases.

The various funds held by Victory Media are not affected by the insolvency.

German prosecutors are investigating Victory in connection with millions of euros raised for lavish TV productions.

One of the oldest German fund operators, Victory raised $450 million between 1994 and 2004 from around 8,000 investors, many of whom are still waiting for a return on their investment.

Victory and its Italian partner, DeAngelis Media Group, produced big-event European miniseries often backed by U.S. TV channels. Its “Julius Caesar” was co-produced with TNT, while “The Magnificent Ambersons” was done with A&E. Other projects include “The Good Pope” and “Shaka Zulu: The Citadel” starring David Hasselhoff and Grace Jones.

Victory shuttered its fund in 2004 because of stricter regulations on tax shelters but continued to produce, recently wrapping up Italian-German historical miniseries “Pompeii,” its last major project to be financed with investment fund coin.

Tax shelter film investment funds flourished in Germany up until last year, when growing budget deficits forced the government to close all tax loop-holes as part of its tax reform.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more