Lawsuit alleges co. owes R Media $8 million
Michael Jaffe, the Munich receivership administrator who handled the Kirch Group meltdown five years ago, has taken control of bankrupt German film group Internationalmedia, and high on his to-do list will be handling a lawsuit filed against the company and its American subsides by R Media Acquisitions.Film financier David Bergstein, co-head of the Capco Group, is described in the complaint as a manager of R Media. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges that the German holding company and its subsidiaries owe R Media nearly $8 million on loans it failed to repay. Also alleged under the breach of contract suit is that under the terms of a security agreement between the parties, R Media is entitled to take possession of Internationalmedia’s film library of some 60 titles, which was put up as collateral for the loans. Alleging that no one has been running the day-to-day business since the resignation of Internationalmedia chairman-CEO Konstantin Thoeren two weeks ago, the complaint also seeks the appointment of a receiver. Sascha R. Prestel, Internationalmedia’s chief financial officer and, until Wednesday, the only remaining member of its management board, told Daily Variety that the matter was now Jaffe’s responsibility. But Prestel added that he “sees things very differently” and called the lawsuit a “diversion.” Internationalmedia was hit last year by the cancellation of helmer Jan De Bont’s “Stopping Power,” an actioner that was set to star John Cusack and shoot in Berlin but was abruptly shut down after financing fell through. L.A.-based R Media then took over the production. According to Wednesday’s suit, R Media made Internationalmedia a series of secured loans in connection with the film, but it again shut down. The suit also alleges that Internationalmedia misrepresented its financial health at the time, falsely claiming that it had a positive net worth, a claim echoed by Bergstein earlier this month. Internationalmedia declared bankruptcy on Aug. 19, blaming its problems in part on Bergstein’s much-publicized money woes. It attributed its lack of liquidity to Eluvium Holdings, a German company Prestel said was linked to Bergstein and which had failed to provide Internationalmedia with overdue capital after agreeing to acquire more than 30% of the company. Bergstein has denied any involvement in Eluvium, saying that he only introduced the group to Internationalmedia. Prestel said Internationalmedia’s insolvency proceedings would show that Bergstein was more involved with Eluvium than he claims.