Vice-Chancellor of the far right trapped on his links with Russia in a video

The footage, shot in 2017, shows Heinz-Christian Strache trying to convince a Russian oligarch to finance his party and buy the country's leading newspaper to do "like Orban" in Hungary.

By Blaise Gauquelin Posted yesterday at 23h07, updated at 03h22

Time to Reading 17 min.

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Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache at a press conference in Budapest (Hungary) on 6 May.
Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache at a press conference in Budapest (Hungary) on 6 May. BERNADETT SZABO / REUTERS

It's a video that's really staggering. The far-right Austrian Vice-Chancellor, Heinz-Christian Strache, tells a woman posing as the niece of a Russian oligarch how to secretly fund the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ), of which he is the president, and buy a powerful media, on the example of Hungary Viktor Orban.

If this footage, filmed without the knowledge of this politician, in July 2017 in Ibiza (Spain), at the time of the legislative campaign, and revealed Friday, May 17, could be the effect of a bomb, it is because it was put online by prestigious German media, the Spiegel and the Süddeutsche Zeitungat eight days of the European elections.

It confirms for the first time in a spectacular way that the links between the extreme right of several EU countries and Russia may not be ideological. It was posted on the eve of a meeting of twelve parties from this movement in Milan (Italy) Saturday, May 18.

Mr. Strache is not just anyone: first-time ally of Marine Le Pen, he was one of the architects of the rapprochement between the European nationalists and the Kremlin, before becoming the far-right personality having managed to obtain the highest office in a European Union (EU) democracy, as part of a coalition with the Conservatives, in December 2017.

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A trap stretched by two baits

According to the German media reports, this tribune, close to the neo-Nazis in his youth, fell into a trap set by two baits, in the company of the very Russophile Johann Gudenus, now president of the FPÖ parliamentary group.

In finca (firm) of the Balearic Island, where these two party-goers fans of David Guetta like to go regularly to decompress, a young woman would have presented herself as the niece of a great fortune well in court in Moscow. Accompanied by a man, she would have set a trap for the two Austrians, filmed without their knowledge from a corner of the living room. The video was then sent to both German newsrooms.

On the images, we clearly hear the leader of the extreme right propose to the unknown to invest millions of euros in the daily Kronen Zeitung, the most read in Austria, to modify the editorial line, to make it more favorable to its political formation, within the framework of the current electoral campaign. In the event of an election victory, Mr Strache promises the girl, in return for this investment, and in the event of the FPÖ's participation in the government, a lucrative contract in the motorway construction sector.

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