Austrian former chancellor Sebastian KurzHe has been accused this Thursday of the crime of false testimony by the Economic and Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (WKStA) of Vienna. Anti-corruption. The charge concerns statements made by the 36-year-old former chancellor at a commission of inquiry set up by the Austrian parliament to investigate an influence-peddling scandal by the coalition he led before resigning in 2021. The range of punishment for the offense charged is up to three years in jail.
In the commission, created in 2020, Kurz played down his role in the appointment of the head of the state holding company ÖBAG, Thomas Schmid. However, based on the chat messages, the prosecution assumes that the former head of government was heavily involved in the choice of staff.
The first investigations were unleashed as a result of the so-called “Ibiza case.” In a secretly recorded video on the island, the then leader of the FPÖ, Heinz Christian Strache, appeared susceptible to corruption. The then coalition of the ÖVP and the FPÖ broke up over this issue.
In the search for evidence of nepotism and corruption at the time when Kurz was in government, the mobile phone of former ÖBAG boss Schmid played a central role. More than 300,000 chats – often considered incriminating by prosecutors – were a treasure trove for investigators.
Schmid offered himself as a key witness in the affair and repeatedly framed Kurz, with whom he had a close relationship.