In Austria, Sebastian Kurz found guilty of perjury

Former conservative Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz was found guilty of perjury on Friday, following a trial in which he was accused of lying before a parliamentary committee while he was still in office

In Austria, Sebastian Kurz found guilty of perjury

Former conservative Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz was found guilty of perjury on Friday, following a trial in which he was accused of lying before a parliamentary committee while he was still in office. The first chancellor on the benches of justice in more than thirty years, Mr. Kurz denied having “knowingly” misled MPs when they questioned him in 2020 about his role in the appointment of a relative, Thomas Schmid, to the presidency. head of a very powerful public holding company.

“Sebastian Kurz is guilty,” declared the judge in Vienna, sentencing him to eight months in prison, following the request of the prosecution, which had initiated the prosecution. In Austria, interfering in an appointment process is not a crime in itself, but concealing the truth while under oath is.

“A Kurz System”

The witnesses called – around ten in total, including former ministers – mostly defended his version of the facts. With the exception, however, of the protagonist of the case: Thomas Schmid, the ex-friend who is now cooperating with the justice system in the hope of a reduced sentence. He overwhelmed him during a two-day hearing, referring to "a Kurz system", to say that he liked to intervene in nominations.

In order to discredit him, Mr. Kurz called in two Russian businessmen and the final day of the trial began with the testimony of the second of them, who spoke by video from the Austrian embassy in Moscow.

In addition to this trial, the former chancellor is suspected of having misappropriated public funds to commission rigged opinion surveys and ensure laudatory coverage in tabloids, during his meteoric rise to power. For this corruption aspect, the investigation is still ongoing.