The Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has been investigated for suspicion of bribery and abuse of confidence, the anti-corruption prosecutors said on Wednesday after hearing raids at the Kurz Conservative Party offices and several main advisers. The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor has also put another nine people under investigation, he said in a statement.
Austrian media have reported that prosecutors suspect that the Ministry of Finance bought ads on a tabloid in exchange for coverage and surveys favorable to Kurz and his party.
Research is a new political headache for Kurz, whom anti-corruption prosecutors put under investigation separately in May under suspicion of perjury. A department of the Ministry of Finance was also raided, a spokesman for the Ministry said.
The raids also occur a week after the Popular Party (OVP) said that it had received numerous questions from journalists about a possible raid of their offices.
OVP has repeatedly accused the anti-corruption prosecutors of prejudice against it and against Kurz, what prosecutors and judges deny.
Schwarz said a similar raid was carried out at the OVP headquarters in 2013 and found no "nothing incriminatory". The anti-corruption prosecution declined to comment.
A spokesman for the Austrian Foreign Ministry confirmed that the desks and houses of a spokesman, the head of the media relations and a high-ranking assistant of Kurz had been rabor, without saying why.
Austrian media reported that prosecutors acted under suspicion of corruption involving government payments for advertising in newspapers in exchange for coverage or favorable surveys.
The Sensational Diary 'Oesterreich' denied having received government payments for advertising in exchange for publishing opinion polls, adding that prosecutors against corruption were investigating on the basis of "evidently serious misunderstandings".
The great budgets of the Austrian ministries for newspapers have been identified for a long time as a possible source of undue influence on the media.Updated Date: 08 October 2021, 17:23