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Austrian ex-far-right leader Strache guilty of corruption


Austria's former Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache waits for the start of a trial session at court in Vienna, Austria, August 27, 2021. REUTERS/Georges Schneider

A court in Vienna deemed on Friday the ex-far-right leader Heinz-Christian Strache guilty of corruption.

The court sentenced Strache to 15 months in prison for getting donations to the party from a private clinic owner.

The problem relies on whether there was a win-win situation in the two donations to the far-right Freedom Party (FPO).

Additionally, The party received donations of 2,000 euros and 10,000 euros from Walter Grubmueller, Vienna private clinic owner, and Strache’s friend.

However, the FPO received those donations in 2016 and 2017 before entering the government with Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s conservative coalition in 2017.

Strache’s scheme

There was a law enactment in 2018 that added the clinic to the facilities capable of directly charging a significant income from Austrian security.

“We clearly established a factual connection, and this was in exchange for a wealthy friend’s donation,” said Judge Claudia Moravec-Loidolt.

According to the APA news agency, a lawyer for Strache said he would appeal the case.

The court also sentenced Grubmueller to a year of imprisonment; he plans to challenge the ruling as well.

The court convicted Strache two years after his resignation from the FPO leadership and as Austrian vice-chancellor.

Furthermore, The conviction was over a video showing Strache in Ibiza claiming corruption in Austrian politics.

However, Strache denied the allegations against him and said he was drinking and not speaking seriously.

The video dropped the coalition between the FPO and the conservative Kurz, who now governs with the Greens.

Moreover, Strache’s political career was already in shreds, as the FPO expelled him.

He also failed to get a seat on the city council of Vienna last year; the rival party acquired only 3% of the votes.

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