A Hamburg SPD state councilor is sentenced to 20,400 euros for taking advantage. The occasion was the allocation of Rolling Stones tickets.
This is not how the Hamburg SPD imagined the hangover after the rock concert Photo: dpa
With hands folded in front of her chest, Elke Badde, the defendant, endures the flashlight storm before the start of the trial. In the afternoon, the former Hamburg state councillor will then receive the verdict with greater pomp: For taking advantage and inducing a subordinate to commit a crime, the 59-year-old will have to shell out a hefty 20,400 euros.
The trial, which will be heard in Hamburg’s criminal court building this Wednesday, is a special one. It marks the start of a series of proceedings in the "Rolling Stones ticket affair" that is currently shaking Hamburg and, above all, the Hamburg SPD. The case involves corruption, bribery and the acceptance of benefits in connection with the approval and staging of a Rolling Stones concert on September 9, 2017.
The explosive aspect of the case is that the accused are almost exclusively social democrats on the side of politics and administration. And the legal processing of the accusations is beginning just as the Hamburg parliamentary election campaign is warming up, with the SPD fighting to remain in power after February 2020.
Elke Badde is also a Social Democrat. The accusation of the public prosecutor’s office: the former state councilor is said to have acquired "two tickets exempt from regular sale" for the concert from the head of the North District Office, Harald Rosler (SPD).
To this one must know: The prosecutors are primarily concerned with Rosler in the entire proceedings. The latter is said to have demanded 300 purchase tickets and 100 free tickets from the organizer FKP Scorpio for the approval of the mega-event, which he offered to "friends of the house" at his own discretion.
Rosler retired in time
The prosecution suspects that the ticket deal lowered Scorpio’s user fees. The "friends of the house" whom Rosler gave were employees of the district and leading SPD comrades from politics, administration and business, in this case above all from the municipal enterprises. The Hamburg opposition is grateful for this election campaign ammunition and speaks of "red felt".
While Rosler saved himself from disciplinary action by retiring, his designated successor came down over the affair. Two state councilors who had purchased tickets through Rosler were able to avoid criminal proceedings by paying a four-digit fine; one state councilor lost her job: it is Elke Badde. The public prosecutor’s office accuses her of "taking advantage" of the ticket purchase.
Although the tickets were not available at special conditions, the "advantage" consisted of having one of the coveted tickets for sure. In addition, the State Secretary for District Affairs, as Rosler’s superior, is said to have issued him a backdated authorization to attend the concert together with his wife free of charge. According to the public prosecutor’s office, the authorization was unlawful.
Not aware of any guilt
In court, Badde explained that the tickets had not arrived at all, so that she and her husband had not attended the concert. To this day, she has not been able to identify any advantage taken: The tickets were offered at the regular price. In addition, tickets were also available for sale until the end, so that no advantage was gained here either.
On the other hand, the fact that she had granted Rosler backdated permission to attend the concert at his request had been a "mistake", on account of which she had also applied for disciplinary proceedings to be instituted against herself. However, since she had taken it for granted that it was part of the representative duties of the district chief to attend such a concert, she considered such permission to be absolutely correct.
The court, however, found Badde guilty on both charges. She announced immediately after the trial that she would appeal the verdict.