Saturday, September 18, 2021

Former Austrian vice-chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache convicted on corruption charges

-

The former vice-chancellor of Austria has been convicted of corruption, following the so-called “Ibizagate” scandal.

Heinz-Christian Strache was found guilty of giving favours in exchange for donations to the far-right Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ).

- Advertisement -

The former FPÖ leader was given a 15-month suspended prison sentence, judge Claudia Moravec-Loidolt announced after the trial.

He had been accused of trying to change laws to favour a private hospital in exchange for party donations worth up to €12,000, and the offer of a yacht holiday in Corfu.

The owner of the private hospital in question, Walter Grubmüller, was also given a 12-month suspended sentence for bribery.

- Advertisement -

Strache, who served as vice-chancellor from 2017 to 2019, and Grubmueller had pleaded not guilty to the charges and can appeal the verdict.

The politician was first caught up in a sting operation while on holiday on the Spanish island of Ibiza in 2017.

Ahead of parliamentary elections, Strache had held a drunken meeting there with a woman, who presented herself as the rich niece of a Russian oligarch wishing to invest in Austria.

Strache was offered help to finance his campaign in exchange for a promise that the private hospital would win public tenders if he were to enter the government.

- Advertisement -

The meeting was all caught on a hidden camera, which was then released to the media in 2019, bringing down Austria’s coalition government.

Several other investigations have been opened by the public prosecutor’s office as a result of the “Ibizagate” video, which continues to rock Austrian politics.

One of the alleged instigators of the video, a private investigator, has been arrested on drug charges.

Meanwhile, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who returned to government in 2020 is being investigated on suspicion of lying to a parliamentary committee of enquiry on corruption, which was set up in the wake of the “Ibizagate” scandal.

NEWSLETTER

Get our daily notification on the latest financial crimes news around the World

MUST READ

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

This Week