Austria’s Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache has been filmed showing to supply authorities contracts in trade for political assist.
The video, filmed secretly shortly earlier than Austria’s election in 2017, reveals Mr Strache talking to a girl who claims to be a Russian investor.
Mr Strache additionally seems to trace at a doubtlessly unlawful donation system for the far-right Freedom Celebration he leads.
The revelations come amid excessive tensions inside Austria’s coalition authorities.
Spokespeople for Mr Strache and the Freedom Celebration weren’t instantly out there for remark.
The video was revealed on Friday in a joint report by the German information journal Der Spiegel and the day by 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 girl who claims to be a rich Russian citizen seeking to spend money on Austria.
The assembly reportedly befell at a villa on the Spanish island of Ibiza, in a personal room with each politicians enjoyable on sofas, smoking and consuming.
Within the footage, the lady says she is the niece of a strong Russian oligarch. She provides to purchase a 50% stake in Austria’s Kronen-Zeitung newspaper and swap its editorial place to assist the Freedom Celebration.
In trade, Mr Strache mentioned he might 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 might enhance assist 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 the whole lot,” Mr Strache mentioned.
As a part of the deal, he suggests the Russian lady “arrange an organization like Strabang,” the Austrian building agency.
“All the federal government orders that Strabang 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 are going to construct up”.
Through the discussions, the vice chancellor says that rich donors have paid the Freedom Celebration by an “affiliation” to maintain their donations hidden.
“The affiliation is charitable, it is obtained nothing to do with the occasion,” Mr Strache mentioned. “That means 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, based on Der Spiegel and the Süddeutsche Zeitung.
The 2 males have acknowledged that the assembly befell, however mentioned it had been “purely personal”. They added that they’d repeatedly talked about “the related authorized rules and the need to watch Austrian legislation” in the course of the encounter.