Suspicion of making false statements about the Ibiza affair: Austria’s ex-chancellor briefly accused – trial from October

Suspicion of making false statements about the Ibiza affair: Austria's ex-chancellor briefly accused - trial from October

Austria’s former chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) will charged on suspicion of false testimony. This was announced by the Economic and Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (WKStA) on Friday in Vienna.

The The trial against Kurz begins on October 18. A spokeswoman for the regional court said on Friday that two more days of negotiations were scheduled for October 20 and 23.

According to the court, in addition to Kurz, his former head of cabinet Bernhard Bonelli and the former director general of Casinos Austria, Bettina Glatz-Kremsner, are accused. The The act includes several boxes, the criminal complaint more than 100 pagesit was said.

The charge is about Testify of the 36-year-old in the Ibiza investigative committee of the Austrian Parliament. In the committee in June 2020, Kurz downplayed his role in appointing the head of the Öbag state holding company, Thomas Schmid.

He was informed about the decision in advance, but did not participate further, according to his statement at the time. Based on chat messages, however, the public prosecutor assumes that the former head of government was very well involved in the personnel.

From mid-2017 at the latest, Kurz and Schmid would have exchanged views on the subject on a regular basis. Kurz has always vehemently denied the allegations.

A few hours before the notification from the WKStA, Kurz himself had communicated via Xhe was “informed by several journalists” that the indictment was imminent.

The ÖVP politician described it in the post as “not surprising that the WKStA decided to file a criminal complaint despite 30 exonerating witness statements”. He also dismissed the allegations as “false”.

The WKStA has been investigating Kurz since spring 2021 after a complaint by the social democratic SPÖ and liberal NEOS on suspicion of false statements. The According to the authorities, the penalty for the alleged offense is up to three years in prison.

Kurz may also have an indictment in the so-called advertisement scandal. It’s about embellished surveys and government advertisements in tabloid newspapers that are said to have been paid for with taxpayers’ money.

Several people are being investigated on suspicion of breach of trust, bribery and corruption. Here, too, Kurz denies the allegations.

Consequential Ibiza affair

The former head of the ÖVP, once a highly valued hope for the conservatives throughout Europe, has twice headed a coalition in Austria. From 2017 to 2019, Kurz led an alliance between the ÖVP and the right-wing FPÖ.

From 2020 to 2021 he was head of government in a coalition of the ÖVP and the Greens. In view of the allegations, he initially resigned from his posts in autumn 2021. In December 2021 he announced his complete departure from politics. He is now an entrepreneur and lobbyist.

The reason for all investigations was the Ibiza affair. In a video secretly recorded on the holiday island, the then FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache appeared susceptible to corruption. The coalition of ÖVP and FPÖ broke up in 2019 because of the affair.

In the search for evidence of nepotism and corruption during the Kurz government, Schmid’s mobile phone played a central role.

More than 300,000 chats – often considered incriminating by the public prosecutor’s office – were a treasure trove for the investigators. Schmid himself offered himself as a key witness in the affair and repeatedly incriminated Kurz, with whom he had a close relationship. (dpa)


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