Serious allegations against Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
The Austrian Public Prosecutor’s Office charged him with infidelity, bribery and corruption. Kurz and his team are said to have allegedly used criminal methods to come to power in the party and the state.
Investigators on Wednesday reached the chancellor, OVP headquarters, finance ministry and a media company to secure material. They were looking for email from the time of early 2016, as well as data carriers, servers, cell phones and laptops. Those close to Kurz were affected – such as a press spokesperson, his media advisor and his chief strategist. The rumor of the raid was going on for several days.
Kurz dismissed suspicions of corruption. Conservative politician (ÖVP) broadcaster ORF said, “I am sure these allegations will soon prove to be false.” He accused investigators of taking the chat messages out of context or of misrepresenting them. “And then a criminal charge is built around it.” In view of the search of the house, Federal President Alexander Van der Belen spoke of a very unusual and serious procedure.
The investigators’ 104-page justification for the searches is tough. The word was published by online portal ZackZack – which is led by ex-Green leader and former National Council member Peter Pilz.
The document raises suspicions that Kurz is said to have been involved in a deal with an Austrian media company. According to prosecutors, from April 2016, as foreign minister at the time, he was involved in influencing editorial material with advertisements financed with taxpayer money. Surveys are said to have played a central role, whose timing, questions and evaluations were influenced by Kurz’s team.
The OVP and the media company vehemently denied the allegations.
“At no time has been an agreement between STERREICH Media Group and the Ministry of Finance regarding the payment of surveys through advertisements,” the media group announced.
Deputy VP general secretary Gabriella Schwarz spoke in the message of false accusations. “It is always with the same goal and system: to cause massive damage to the People’s Party and Sebastian Kurz,” she said. Investigators apparently want to “show effect”.
August Voginger, leader of the VP parliamentary group, declared resistance. “We will oppose it with all our might, both at the political and legal level.”
According to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, more than one million euros should have flowed from the budget of the Ministry of Finance when Kurz sought to take over the OVP. In 2017 he hopelessly won the power struggle against the leader of the inferior VP party, Reinhold Mittelner, and in December 2017 became chancellor of a coalition of the VP and the right-wing FPÖ.
Even after that the cooperation between the Chancellor and the media company should have continued. “I’ve never really gone as far as us. Great investment. (…) Who makes the payments. I like that”, according to investigative documents, after the desired reporting was once again placed, the Ministry of Finance This was stated in a chat message from a brief confidant of That same day, Kurz thanked the sender: “Thanks for Austria today!”
Is the government’s crisis coming now?
A government crisis now seems almost inevitable. The Greens, as VP’s partner in the coalition since January 2020, always insisted that only a “clean policy” was possible with them. The OVP and Greens alliance has been repeatedly burdened by the OVP’s allegations against the judiciary in the recent past.
Werner Kogler, vice chancellor and leader of the Greens, said on Wednesday that “attacks on the judiciary must be rejected outright.” Florian Klenk, editor-in-chief of the magazine “Falter”, wrote on Twitter: “After a quick first read of this House search warrant and the chats contained therein, one can confidently say: this is no longer possible with the alliance between VP and the Greens. Between. Game over.
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