The Austrian deputy foreign minister and leader of the FPÖ ultra-nationalist party, Heinz-Christian Strache, allegedly offered the possibility of public awards to a Russian oligarch in exchange for aid in his election campaign, as revealed on Friday by the German weekly Der Spiegel and the diary Süddeutsche Zeitung.
The revelations are based on a video, recorded in the summer of 2017 with a hidden camera in Ibiza, shortly before the legislative elections in October, which were the springboard for the far right (FPÖ) to enter the Government for the second time. the hand of the conservatives of the now chancellor, Sebastian Kurz. The subsequent coalition agreement made Strache vice chancellor.
In the recording, Strache, who has denied any irregularity, apparently promises a wealthy Russian woman his support for future contracts, in case of reaching a position in the Government, as a counterpart to a hypothetical help to his campaign. The ultra leader, accompanied by a close associate and now head of the FPÖ parliamentary group, Johann Gudenus, discusses in the conversation different investment possibilities for women, including the option of acquiring a considerable package of sensationalist actions. Kronen Zeitung to support the training campaign.
In addition, during the meeting, Strache and Gudenus allegedly hint at possible illegal financing of the right-wing party by way of a donation to an association. The Austrian leaders cite several large companies that would have donated to the party, something that these have denied to Der Spiegel Y Süddeutsche Zeitung.
Both media got in touch with the Austrian vice-chancellor and the president of the parliamentary group. According to Strache, during the conversation, in a relaxed atmosphere with alcohol in between, he stressed several times the "need to respect Austrian laws", also in relation to possible donations to the party. The ultra leader adds that "never" favored the investor or took advantage.
This is not the first time that the Kurz Executive has to deal with accusations of all kinds against its ultranationalist partners. So far, however, the scandals or incidents have been related to anti-Semitic attitudes or contacts with neo-Nazis by members of the FPÖ, not with an alleged case of corruption.
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