Heinz-Christian Strache: Vice-chancellor caught on secret video

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Mr Strache has acknowledged that the assembly came about, however mentioned it had been “purely non-public”

Austria’s Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache has been filmed showing to supply authorities contracts in alternate for political help.

The video, filmed secretly shortly earlier than Austria’s election in 2017, reveals Mr Strache talking to a lady who claims to be a Russian investor.

Mr Strache additionally seems to trace at a probably unlawful donation system for the far-right Freedom Celebration he leads.

The revelations come amid excessive tensions inside Austria’s coalition authorities.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz of the centre-right Individuals’s Celebration is because of make an announcement at a press convention on Saturday morning.

Senior figures within the coalition authorities held an emergency assembly on Friday night.

A coalition supply advised Reuters information company that Mr Kurz is ruling out persevering with to work with Mr Strache.

The video was revealed on Friday in a joint report by the German information journal Der Spiegel and the every day Süddeutsche Zeitung.

It’s unclear who arrange the assembly and who filmed it.

What’s within the video?

The secretly-filmed video reveals Mr Strache and Johann Gudenus – additionally a Freedom Celebration politician – speaking to a lady who claims to be a rich Russian citizen trying to spend money on Austria.

The assembly reportedly came about at a villa on the Spanish island of Ibiza, in a non-public room with each politicians stress-free on sofas, smoking and ingesting.

Within the footage, the girl says she is the niece of a robust Russian oligarch. She gives to purchase a 50% stake in Austria’s Kronen-Zeitung newspaper and change its editorial place to help the Freedom Celebration.

In alternate, Mr Strache mentioned he may award her public contracts, explaining that he needed to “construct a media panorama like Orbán”, a reference to Hungary’s far-right prime minister.

The vice-chancellor additionally speculates that the Russian’s takeover of Kronen-Zeitung may enhance help for the occasion to as excessive as 34%.

“For those who take over the Kronen Zeitung three weeks earlier than the election and get us into first place, then we are able to discuss every part,” Mr Strache mentioned.

As a part of the deal, he suggests the Russian girl “arrange an organization like Strabag,” the Austrian development agency.

“All the federal government orders that Strabag will get now, [you] would get,” he continues.

Mr Strache additionally names a number of journalists who must be “pushed” from the newspaper, and 5 different “new folks whom we’ll construct up”.

Through the discussions, the vice chancellor says that rich donors have paid the Freedom Celebration via an “affiliation” to maintain their donations hidden.

“The affiliation is charitable, it is obtained nothing to do with the occasion,” Mr Strache mentioned. “That approach no report goes to the Rechnungshof [Austria’s court of auditors]”.

How have folks responded?

The alleged donors named by Mr Strache and Mr Gudenus within the video have denied sending cash to the occasion, in accordance with Der Spiegel and the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The 2 males have acknowledged that the assembly came about, however mentioned it had been “purely non-public”. They added that that they had repeatedly talked about “the related authorized rules and the need to watch Austrian regulation” throughout the encounter.

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