Graz: Auditor involved in FPÖ financial affair

One week before the constituent meeting of the new Graz municipal council on November 17th, the expenses and financial scandal overshadowed the freedom of the party in the final spurt of the coalition negotiations between the KPÖ, the Greens and the SPÖ. After the political rejection for the FPÖ in the municipal council election on September 26, it is shaken by the widening financial affair. With the self-disclosure of the former club director and financial officer of the city party, the cause “really has become a criminal case,” said the state party secretary of the Styrian FPÖ, Stefan Hermann, in an interview with the “Wiener Zeitung” on Tuesday. At the beginning of the previous week, the state FPÖ and its chairman, ex-defense minister Mario Kunasek, announced that auditors would be scrutinizing the finances after allegations of additional payments to the FPÖ politician Vice Mayor Mario Eustacchio and club boss Armin Sippel. This test is ongoing, the presumption of innocence applies to those affected. After the voluntary report that became public on Monday via the “Kleine Zeitung”, according to which the ex-club director should have “used several 100,000 euros from public funds for personal purposes”, the Styrian FPÖ will, according to Hermann, also call in a renowned auditing firm to examine it. It won’t stop there. “We are damaged”, so the state party will join a process as a private participant. At the same time, the Styrian FPÖ state party secretary emphasized: “Nothing is covered up.” One strives for full clarification. Time pressure in personnel decisions A resolution of the FPÖ state party presidium was already given at a meeting the previous week. Accordingly, the Graz city party must also adopt the compliance guidelines that already apply to the Styrian FPÖ. In any case, the review will have to be carried out a few years back and will be extensive. The Graz FPÖ is under some time pressure when it comes to personnel decisions. A meeting of the city party was canceled on Monday evening shortly after the ex-club director’s self-disclosure became known. Personal clarifications must be made by the time the municipal council is constituted on Wednesday of the coming week at the latest. The previous blue deputy mayor Eustacchio and the previous club chairman Sippel have already announced that they will not take over their mandates.

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