Suspected bribery: Strache and Stieglitz have to go to court

Was Heinz-Christian Strache corrupt? The Economic and Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (WKStA) accuses him of this for the second time. The authority has filed a criminal complaint against Strache and another person on suspicion of corruption and bribery at the regional criminal court, as the WKStA confirmed to the OÖ Nachrichten.

The “other person” is the Steyr real estate entrepreneur and former Asfinag supervisory board member Siegfried Stieglitz. The accusation: Stieglitz is said to have granted advantages to the former FP boss and Vice Chancellor Strache or a party-affiliated association, for which Stieglitz was to be appointed to the supervisory board of Asfinag and another state-related company. Ultimately, it was only the entry into the supervisory board of Asfinag.

Suspected bribery: Strache and Stieglitz have to go to court

Siegfried Stieglitz

Image: Goldfinch

10,000 euros to an FP-affiliated club

“I know that I can easily refute the allegations during the main hearing in court,” said Strache in a reaction on Tuesday. His defense attorney Johann Pauer confirmed this and added that the content would first be discussed with the court.

Stieglitz said nothing more yesterday. Two weeks ago he told OÖ Nachrichten that he expected the case against him to be dropped: “I haven’t done anything wrong. Anything else would be politically motivated.” His defense attorney Andreas Pollak did not comment on request.

The Ibiza investigative committee had also dealt with the Causa Stieglitz.

Before being appointed to the Asfinag supervisory board, the Upper Austrian entrepreneur had donated 10,000 euros to the FP-affiliated association “Austria in Motion”. Chats suggest that Stieglitz, Strache and former infrastructure minister Norbert Hofer (FP) agreed that Stieglitz would be appointed to a supervisory board at his insistence. The donation to the association is an allegation in the indictment.

Also included in the criminal complaint is an alleged invitation from Stieglitz to Strache to Dubai, which Strache said he refused. Pauer says: “My client was already charged in the Prikraf proceedings for a trip to Corfu, which he never went on, and was legally acquitted in this regard. He is now being charged with an invitation to a birthday party in Dubai, which he declined for compliance reasons .”

Up to five years imprisonment

The range of punishment in the Causa Asfinag is six months to five years imprisonment.

The corresponding project report by the WKStA was approved by the Vienna Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Ministry of Justice in agreement with the Weissensrat.

An investigation was also carried out against the ex-infrastructure minister and current third president of the National Council, Norbert Hofer, but the proceedings were discontinued, as reported, “due to the lack of verifiability of the acceptance of advantages relevant to corruption law”.

The presumption of innocence applies to all those named.

Trial at the Criminal Court:

  • The trial against Heinz-Christian Strache and Siegfried Stieglitz will take place at the Vienna Regional Court for Criminal Matters. The criminal complaint had been served on those involved in the proceedings, but a hearing date had not yet been scheduled, the court said on Tuesday.
    According to reports, that will not happen anytime soon either, because the economic departments in the court are currently dealing with a large number of cases, some of which are large.
  • Strache had to answer for himself in the large jury courtroom last year. At the end of August, in the Prikraf affair, he was sentenced to 15 months’ conditional imprisonment for bribery. The co-defendant owner of the Währing private clinic, Walter Grubmüller, received a conditional suspension of twelve months for bribery. He had donated a total of 12,000 euros to the FPÖ. His concern was inclusion in the private hospital financing fund (Prikraf), for which Strache campaigned. Both appealed.
  • Siegfried Stieglitz has been in the real estate industry for 27 years. He invests in and develops retail space and shopping malls. The group of companies includes several companies that are primarily active in eastern Austria.

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