German prosecutors drop sex assault probe into Rammstein frontman

Rammstein singer Till Lindemann was the subject of an investigation into claims of sexual assault, but the probe has now been dropped. (Tobias SCHWARZ)
Rammstein singer Till Lindemann was the subject of an investigation into claims of sexual assault, but the probe has now been dropped. (Tobias SCHWARZ)

Berlin prosecutors said Tuesday they had closed an investigation into Till Lindemann, the frontman of German metal band Rammstein, following claims of women being drugged and sexually assaulted at concerts.

An evaluation of all available leads "did not provide any evidence" the claims were true, the prosecutors said in a statement, and no charges will be filed.

The investigation was opened in June after several women claimed on social media that they had been drugged and recruited to engage in sexual activity with Lindemann, 60, at Rammstein after-show parties.

Lindemann had denied the allegations, with his lawyers calling them "without exception untrue".

Rammstein, an industrial metal band founded in 1994, is known for grinding guitar riffs, taboo-breaking antics and theatrical stage shows heavy on pyrotechnics.

Their songs have dealt with subjects ranging from cannibalism to necrophilia, and the band name itself evokes the 1988 Ramstein air show disaster that killed 70 people and injured more than 1,000.

Lindemann responded to the closure of the investigation on his Instagram channel.

"I thank all those who waited impartially for the end of the investigation," he wrote.

Berlin-based law firm Schertz Bergmann welcomed the decision, saying it "proves that there was no basis for the very serious allegations against our client on social media and in the press".

- 'Row Zero' -

Complaints against Lindemann had not been filed by the women who had made the claims but by third parties, the firm said.

Legal action would be taken against "incorrect representations" of Lindemann in the press and on social media, it added.

The scandal erupted after a young Irish woman posted on social media that she had been drugged and propositioned by Lindemann at a backstage party in Vilnius, Lithuania.

A wave of similar stories then emerged on platforms including Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

The allegations threw a spotlight on Rammstein's "Row Zero" system, a VIP concert experience for a select group of fans, including the chance to stand right in front of the stage and access to an after-show party.

Alena Makeeva, a Russian woman accused of recruiting young women to engage in sexual practices with Lindemann, was reportedly banned from Rammstein concerts after the allegations came to light.

Makeeva called herself Rammstein's "casting director". She had been working for the band since 2019, according to daily newspaper Die Welt.

Berlin prosecutors on Tuesday also said they had dropped a probe into an unnamed "tour manager", against whom complaints had been filed over the "supply of young women at concerts to the backstage area".

- 'Noise about nothing' -

The uproar around the allegations led to several after-show parties being cancelled at Rammstein concerts and also prompted the record label Universal Music to drop its marketing for the band.

German Culture Minister Claudia Roth had welcomed the investigation, saying it underlined that the accusations were to be taken seriously.

The claims had also led Families Minister Lisa Paus to call for better protection for women at concerts.

But the prosecutors on Tuesday said there was no proof that Lindemann had "performed sexual acts on women against their will, administered substances that influenced their ability to consent... or exploited a power imbalance with regard to underage sexual partners".

They also noted that Lithuanian prosecutors had declined to open a probe.

Burkhard Benecken, a prominent German defence lawyer, told the popular Bild daily the outcome of the investigation was to be expected.

"It was a lot of noise about nothing," he said.

But Lindemann may still find it hard to recover his reputation because "experience shows that these things always stick", Benecken said.