As the “Kurier” reported online on Tuesday, Johannes Pasquali, ministry spokesman and VP district politician in Vienna, was dismissed. The recommendation for this is said to have come from the Finanzprokuratur. The Ministry of Finance did not want to say anything about this when asked by APA with reference to personal rights.
According to “Kurier”, the union and staff representatives were informed of the termination. The HR department approved the move. The basis is, among other things, the misconduct recorded in a report by the internal audit department of the ministry.
After the corruption investigations against the ÖVP became known, the Ministry of Finance initiated an internal investigation together with the Finanzprokuratur. In mid-December, the examiners confirmed irregularities and particularly criticized the awarding of studies to the opinion researcher Sabine Beinschab, but also the awarding of advertisements. The new Finance Minister Magnus Brunner (ÖVP) spoke to journalists of a “structural failure”.
However, the report left out the question of whether the communications department had coordinated its approach with the former Secretary General of the Ministry of Finance, Thomas Schmid, or with the ministerial office. The revision focused exclusively on the existing files and did not conduct any surveys. Sharp criticism of the revision procedure came from Pasquali, the head of the communications department who had since been released from work. In a written statement, he emphasized that he had no knowledge of any agreements between Schmid and Beinschab. In addition, he always assumed the “lawful use” of the studies. Contrary to the Ministry’s revision regulations, he was not asked about the allegations. Pasquali was initially unavailable for the APA on Tuesday.
The investigations by the Public Prosecutor’s Office for Economic Affairs and Corruption (WKStA) are about the suspicion that confidants of ex-Chancellor Kurz supported his political rise through manipulated surveys and used funds from the Ministry of Finance for this purpose. The investigators take evidence of this from secured chats between Schmid and Beinschab, among other things.