Former Finance Executive Sues His Former Employer for £2 Million
January 16th, 2020 1.00pm
Peter Sidlo, former Chief Financial Officer of one of the leading casino operators in the world, Casino Austria, has recently filed a lawsuit against the company he used to work for.
Sidlo claims he was unfairly fired from his position and seeks compensation of around £2 million.
And although Sidlo asserts his dismissal was “unfair”, the fact is he was not only underqualified for the position he had in Casino Austria, but he was also involved in a political scandal that had shaken the country.
However, he did have a valid contract with the operator partly owned by the state. During his time at Casino Austria, Sidlo held one of the leading positions.
He joined the operator in March last year, although the reasons for his arrival remain a mystery as he had no prior experience in the field. Sidlo was fired last month, following a political scandal. Commenting on the decision to let him go, Casino Austria stated Sidlo had been fired for “gross breach of duty” and for “inflicting serious damage to the Casino Austria’s reputation”.
At this moment, an ongoing investigation will try to determine whether his appointment represented a wider political conspiracy. Sidlo’s involvement in shady activities was revealed by whistleblowers and involved Heinz-Christian Strache, the former vice-chancellor, as well as Novomatic, the leading Austrian gaming company, which coincidentally (or not) had a large stake in Casino Austria until last month.
According to allegations made by whistleblowers, it was Novomatic that approved Sidlo’s appointment. One of the most prominent members of Strache’s Freedom Party, Sidlo became a member of the Casino Austria board, while Novomatic expected to get certain political favours in return.
A Political Trade-Off
Freedom Party’s success in the 2017 elections, where they won 26% of votes, helped them form a government through a coalition with the Conservative Party. Known for its anti-immigration policy, Freedom Party became the second-most important political party in the country, while Strache – who was accused of being a Neo-Nazi on several occasions – became the Austrian vice-chancellor.
According to information provided by whistleblowers, Novomatic needed Strache’s help to end the monopoly Casino Austria had on casino gaming in the country. Such a move would be a very lucrative one, as it would allow Novomatic to operate a casino in the Austrian capital. However, the list of favours they allegedly expected from the former vice-chancellor doesn’t end there. Novomatic reputedly wanted to repeal a law that prohibited gaming arcades in Vienna.
In the meantime, both parties, Strache and Novomatic, categorically denied these claims.
A Contract Is a Contract
Regardless of the role Sidlo had in all of this, he did have a valid contract with Casino Austria at the time of his departure. His lawyers claim he didn’t breach any of his duties, and also pointed out that no valid reasons were given as an explanation for his dismissal.
The figure stated in his lawsuit is an interesting one, as it didn’t only include his salary and bonuses he would receive if he had stayed at his position, but also the money he would save by using the company car. Sidlo even included the money he would have saved on parking if he had used the company’s parking space!
Strache left the office shortly after Sidlo’s appointment, following a scandal that led to the collapse of the coalition government.
In a leaked video, Strache promises state contracts in exchange for cash and even wanted illegal donations to his party. Novomatic was mentioned in the video, as one of the companies that made illegal donations to the Freedom Party.
Sidlo claims he was unfairly fired by Casino Austria.