Heinz-Christian Strache’s House Searched

The far-right FPÖ is accused of having secured a top position at Casinos Austria by making political promises to Novomatic.

Yet another scandal has hit the far-right Freedom Party and former functionaries Heinz-Christian Strache and Johann Gudenus. Both are already under investigation on the basis of the Ibiza video. The Ministry of Justice lists a total of 19 accusations, among them: Prohibited intervention, bribery, suspicion of the establishment of an anti-state connection, a blackmail attempt and even the transfer of cocaine to other customers.

Now the far-right duo are under investigation in association with yet another accusation of bribery – this time relating to FPÖ’s time in government. The FPÖ is accused of having made political promises to the Novomatic gambling group, in exchange for which FPÖ politician Peter Sidlo got an unearned seat on the board of directors of the Casinos Austria. Novomatic currently holds over 17% of the shares of Casinos Austria.

What Strache has to do with Novomatic and Casinos Austria

An anonymous witness provided the prosecutor’s office with documents purporting to show thatformer FPÖ-politician Johann Gudenus asked Novomatic board member Harald Neumann to have former FPÖ district councilor Peter Sidlo appointed as financial director of Casinos Austria. “In close coordination with Heinz-Christian Strache, the FPÖ agreed in return to support Novomatic in a benevolent manner. The subject was in particular the granting of a casino license in Vienna and a national online gaming license,” according to a corruption report provided to public broadcaster ORF.

Gudenus allegedly promised that if the FPÖ’s were to win the 2020 Vienna elections, the small gambling bet (i.e. slot machine) law would be re-activated. The FPÖ’s then-State Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Hubert Fuchs, is said to have made the deal with Novomatic owner Johann Graf when the two were in London for a gambling conference, according to the news programme ZIB2. All those involved deny the accusations.

Strache’s Home Searched

The news blew up in mid-August when Strache’s private residence was raided and searched. “On 12.08.2019, my private rooms were searched due to an anonymous report and the accusation of bribery made against me,” Strache confirmed in a Facebook post. He condemned it as “just another political attack on my person”. Johann Gudenus’ home was also reportedly searched, and his and Strache’s cell phones confiscated. Investigators also raided a house in East Tyrol that belongs to a branch of the FPÖ, discovering a locked safe containing several hard drives. Other house searches also took place in the homes of Neumann and Sidlo.

It remains to be seen whether concrete criminal charges will flow from these investigations, and whether these developments will affect voters’ choices in late September.

 

(Picture copyright: Gregor Tatschl)

 

 

Julia Seidl
Julia started out at "Die Presse." She went on to study "Journalism & Media Management" in Vienna and worked for several local news outlets such as ORF, Kurier and Falter before joining Metropole as online content and social media manager.

Help us help you

“Strong media and independent journalism are built on the shoulders of subscribers. Your support means the world to us.

Benjamin Wolf
COO & Managing Editor

The coronavirus outbreak affects and challenges your life in big and small ways. Metropole is here for you and we are proud to be your news source during this crisis.

But just as the coronavirus has increased the need for independent journalism, it has also undercut a major revenue source of media companies, ours included – advertising.

We need your support to keep it up – donate or subscribe and #helpushelpyou!

Support Metropole!


 

RECENT Articles

Vienna’s Ultimate Swimming Pool Guide

It will be a summer like no other. This year due to corona, many Viennese will opt to spend a good part of their holiday in the city and surroundings. Lucky for us, there are few better places for relaxing in the shade and swim in pools or rivers than Vienna.

The Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna | School Vacations Started

With summer approaching, new challenges await Austria in dealing with the coronavirus. Here’s all you need to know about current measures and developments, including trusted sources and tips – regularly updated.

Liberal Freedom and Its Flip Side

The renewed struggle against discrimination is really two struggles: one about rights, the other about opinion.

Taste of India | Keep Calm and Curry On

Nestled in the 3rd district, The Taste of India’s second location serves authentic North Indian cuisine in a cozy atmosphere, balancing food and feeling.

Traditional Brand Icons and the New Sensitivities of Race

The worldwide Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has now spilled over onto the supermarket shelves. A look at Austria’s own racially problematic icons.

Grey Wolves Howl in Favoriten

Turkish political violence has spilled over on to the streets of Vienna: The hard right Grey Wolves confront an alliance of Kurdish and left wing protesters in the 10th District.
 

METROPOLE NEWSLETTER

Join over 5,000 Metropolitans, who already get monthly news updates and event invitations.