Austria: Ibiza affair expands

In the Ibiza affair surrounding the former Austrian Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache (FPÖ), the public prosecutor's office in Austria officially extended the investigation according to unconfirmed media reports. As reported by the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, citing an investigative order, the Economic and Corruption Prosecutor now investigates whether illegal party donations via disguised clubs in addition to the FPÖ also flowed to the parties ÖVP and SPÖ. In addition, the public prosecutor's office is investigating the suspicion of infidelity by companies that are said to have donated.

The investigation was reportedly leaked to the Austrian weekly newspaper “Falter”. The confidential four-page letter was therefore created and signed at the end of May. In addition to the “SZ” could also view the magazine “mirror” the documents. The WKStA did not comment on the reports on Tuesday at the request of the German Press Agency. The entire investigation was a classified document.

Investigation against several companies

The case in the criminal case “Mag. Gudenus and other accused persons” had come into play after the so-called Ibiza affair. In a video secretly recorded in a villa in Ibiza, Strache and his then party colleague Johann Gudenus said that illegal party donations were not paid directly to the FPÖ, but diverted through party-based associations. Gudenus claimed in the video that the other parties also engaged in this illegal donation practice. FPÖ, SPÖ and ÖVP had rejected the statements.

Strache also mentioned in the video the names of some companies that donated to the FPÖ as well as to the conservative ÖVP and the Social Democratic Social Democratic Party (SPÖ). Later, Strache withdrew the claim. The aforementioned companies – the weapons manufacturer Gaston Glock, the investor René Benko and the gambling company Novomatic – deny such party donations.

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According to “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, the prosecutor's office is still following the statements. Citing the “investigation order” writes the sheet, the criminal investigation should not only affiliate associations in the FPÖ, but also clubs in the environment of SPÖ and ÖVP review, which could be considered recipients of redirected party donations in question. Investigations for infidelity therefore also run against representatives of the companies Glock, Novomatic and Benkos Signa Holding.

The publication of the Ibiza video had led to a political earthquake in Austria. In May, Strache resigned from his posts as Vice Chancellor and Party Chief. The coalition of FPÖ and ÖVP, led by ÖVP politician Sebastian Kurz, was ousted by parliament by vote of no confidence.

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