Share

Report: Austrian politician offered contracts for support

Share

BERLIN (AP) — Austrian opposition parties called Friday for the country’s vice-chancellor to resign after a two German newspapers published footage of him apparently offering lucrative government contracts to a potential Russian benefactor.

The daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung and the weekly Der Spiegel published extracts of covert video allegedly showing Heinz-Christian Strache, the leader of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party, meeting a woman claiming to be interested in investing large amounts of money in the Alpine nation. The two papers said the meeting, which took place months before Austria’s parliamentary election, was clearly a trap laid to compromise the two politicians, though it’s unclear who was behind it.

In the video, the source of which the newspapers declined to reveal, Strache and party colleague Johann Gudenus are heard telling the unnamed woman she can expect lucrative construction contracts if she buys an Austrian newspaper and supports the Freedom Party. Sueddeutsche Zeitung and Der Spiegel said the footage was authenticated by a forensic video expert. It couldn’t be immediately independently verified by The Associated Press.

“It’s time to end this nightmare,” the head of Austria’s Social Democratic Party, Pamela Rendi-Wagner, said after the reports. “Strache and Gudenus must step down today.”

She urged Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz of the center-right People’s Party to take responsibility for his government allies: “He chose to enter into this coalition.”

Trending:
This 5-Year-Old Tweet from Hillary Clinton Just Resurfaced, And It Reminds Everyone Why She Wasn't Elected

Werner Kogler, a leading member of Austria’s opposition Green Party, also urged Kurz to dissolve the coalition “or he himself will become untenable.”

According to the two newspapers, the video spanned some six hours of drink-fueled conversation in a villa on the Spanish island of Ibiza between the Austrian politicians and a woman claiming to be the niece of a prominent Russian businessman. Aside from discussing possible investments in Austria, including the purchase of influential tabloid newspaper Kronen Zeitung, Strache also appears to suggest ways of funneling money to his party via an unconnected foundation to circumvent Austrian rules on political donations.

There is no indication that any of the discussed Russian investments took place before or after the parliamentary elections, in which the Freedom Party came third with almost 26% of the vote.

Neither Strache nor Gudenus could immediately be reached for comment. Spiegel reported that the men confirmed taking part in a private meeting on Ibiza, but denied any wrongdoing.

___

Sueddeutsche Zeitung report: http://bit.ly/2HoGwCg

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →



loading

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
Share
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




loading

Conversation