A cosmetic surgeon is said to have bribed Heinz-Christian Strache to change the laws in his favor. The former Vice Chancellor of Austria denies the allegations.
At the start of a corruption process against Austria’s ex-Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, the public prosecutor’s office made serious allegations. During his tenure in office, the former top politician helped a befriended clinic operator to make an advantageous change in the law, according to the prosecution’s representative before the regional court in Vienna.
There is a connection between a party donation of 10,000 euros to the right-wing FPÖ, whose chairman Strache was at the time, and the noticeable commitment of the now 52-year-old for the clinic. An invitation from the clinic operator to the Strache couple to Corfu – including arrival and departure in a private jet – is one of the suspicious factors. Strache has to answer for suspected bribery, the clinic operator for suspected bribery. The penalty range is up to five years in prison.
Strache rejects all allegations of corruption
Specifically, during the initial phase of the coalition of the conservative ÖVP and the FPÖ, Strache asked the entrepreneur in chats at the end of 2017 what changes in the law he needed so that his clinic, which specializes in cosmetic surgery with 20 beds, would be included in the private hospitals financing fund (Prikraf). The fund also reimburses medically necessary services on a pro-rata basis for those with statutory health insurance. The fund was later increased significantly by the ÖVP-FPÖ government. Four days of negotiations are planned for the process.
Strache rejected all allegations of corruption and declared himself not guilty. Even the Ibiza video published two years ago – if you can see it in its entire length of almost seven hours – shows that Strache, contrary to the impression created in the cut, is not susceptible to corruption, according to his lawyer Johann Pauer. The Corfu trip alleged by the public prosecutor’s office took place in 2016, when Strache had not yet been Vice Chancellor. He also paid for the flight himself.