The 63 employees in question are owed a combined total of around three million kronor in unpaid wages and holiday pay.
“‘No worries, you’ll be paid soon’, we were told. But I haven’t seen any money,” an employee, dubbed ‘Lisa’, told newspaper Dagens Nyheter.
Without any warning at all the pubs shut their doors in November and the owners disappeared.
“One day, just before lunch, some people came in and took the cash registers. They hadn’t been paid for them and asked for the owners. We laughed and said it was a long time since we had seen them,” said Lisa.
Drinks maker Carlsberg also noticed that something was amiss, filing a bankruptcy petition in November of last year. The six pubs, which included Sheehans, O’Connells and Murphys Corner, had not been paying for their deliveries.
The Swedish Economic Crimes Bureau is now investigating claims made by Carlsberg that both the missing money and the main owner, who is an Irishman, have made their way to Portugal.
The second owner, a Swede, is thought to remain in the country, though he has not been seen for some time.
Joining Carlsberg and the employees in pushing for bankruptcy is the Swedish Enforcement Agency. The owners had failed to pay tax, while also neglecting to file annual business reports.
Bankruptcy proceedings will begin next week for Crazy Horse, the pub that hit the national news for a brawl in January 2006 involving Social Democrat youth leader Anna Sjödin.
Four of the pubs – Sheehans, O’Connells, Centro and Murphys Corner – have recently come under new ownership and have all sought licences to serve alcohol.
Murphy’s Corner has already reopened and Vistoria is expeected to open in the next month. But the future of Crazy Horse is still doubt.