The beleaguered German private media fund VIP Medienfondshas been dealt another blow with the news of the sudden exit of managingdirector Andy Grosch.

VIP's operations will now be managed solely by Dirk Spechtwho had been brought in this March to take over responsibility for the financesand controlling of the VIP funds while Grosch concentrated on running VIP's productionactivities.

Commenting on his departure from the media fund, Grosch,whose career in international production spans 23 years, stressed that he will continue"to support VIP in refuting the accusations by the public prosecutor againstthe financing model practised by VIP and other large players in themarket."

Meanwhile, as the BSZ newsletter reported, Jens-PeterGieschen, a partner in the Bremen-based law firm KTAG who filed claims fordamages against VIP on behalf of over 200 investors earlier this year, was notshedding any tears about Grosch's exit - or that of VIP executive Eduard Wallnerat the beginning of June.

"Metaphorically speaking, one would say here that therats are leaving the sinking ship," Gieschen said, adding that theirdeparture meant that "the accused no longer have any direct access to theinvestors' money, which from our point ofview can only be to our advantage."

(During February's Berlinale, Grosch had described KTAG as"ambulance chasers" and "sharks" and had been openly dismissiveof the investors' case against VIP.)

VIP's fall of grace from its stellar career as the leadingGerman media fund with involvement in such films as Monster, Lord Of War, Black Book and Perfume: Story Of A Murderer, began at the end of September 2005when VIP's former CEO Andreas Schmid was taken into detention at Munich'sStadelheim Prison on allegations of tax evasion.

This week, there were renewed attempts by Schmid's lawyersat a court hearing to have his period of detention brought to an end, but onceagain in vain.