The FPÖ Considers Expelling Strache

Shortly before National Assembly elections, news about the former head’s expense reports are causing a stir.

For years, he was the face of the FPÖ. At both a state and national level, Heinz-Christian Strache was there. Since taking over the party from Jörg Haider in 2005 (who went on to found the now-defunct BZÖ), his name has been nearly synonymous with the party. But now it is considering expelling him, as the daily Kurier reported yesterday, September, 25.

The Kurier quotes anonymous party members making statements like: “He is history,” or “He harms the party,” or “He can no longer run for the FPÖ in Vienna”.

€42,000 for the Strache family

The reasons aren’t limited to the Ibiza scandal, but include new accusations against the former party chairman with regard to his Spesenabrechnungen (expense reports).

Strache is said to have billed the party for private expenses from 2014 to 2018. The FPÖ granted him an expense account of up to €10,000 per month for party purposes. This was in addition to his vice-chancellor’s salary of €19,262.70. With his wife Philippa Strache having received between €11,000 and €15,000 as an “honorary animal welfare officer” of the FPÖ, the couple thus had a total of around €42,000 in taxpayers’ money at their disposal each month.

Former bodyguard arrested

At first, it was unclear where the information came from. But on Monday evening, the Soko Ibiza (the commission tasked with investigating the Ibiza affair) raided the house of “Oliver R.”, Heinz-Christian Strache’s former head of security, and arrested him, as reported by Der Standard and Die Presse. He had supposedly been collecting “incriminating material” about Strache and other FPÖ politicians for years. In 2005, the man – who was also a FPÖ district council in Ottakring – tried to pass on this information to the authorities in exchange for money. But the public prosecutor’s office did not show any interest in the deal. The bodyguard also seems to be familiar with the people behind the Ibiza video and is said to have shared parts of the material about Strache with them. Strache stresses that he has always acted lawfully. But the FPÖ has now decided to check all expense receipts dating back to 2013.

Strache FB

 

(Strache on his personal facebook page: “Disappointed! If I have obviously been infiltrated for years by a suspected criminal structure that used criminal means and methods against me – in order to enrich themselves – I must also assume there is criminal energy directed against my person! Sad! What other slanders are on their way? 😞”)

Party chairman Norbert Hofer published a statement via video message yesterday, September 24. The current publications as well as the Ibiza video, he said, are the work of a “criminal network” that has been trying for several years to destroy the FPÖ. He wants to examine the accusations against Strache. Still, he says he is prepared to “draw the necessary conclusions” if the accusations prove true.

 

Norbert Hofer’s statement (in German)

 

(Photo credit: © Parlamentsdirektion / PHOTO SIMONIS)

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

Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna | “Corona-Bonus” For Retirees

The coronavirus has arrived in Austria. Here’s all you need to know about current measures, including where to get help, information and tips – updated regularly.

Trump Praises Austrian “Forest Cities” With Exploding Trees

With some highly unusual comments meant to put California’s environmental management in a bad light, the U.S. president set off a twitter storm of mockery and once again exposed his ignorance of the world.

Hometown Explorers

As travel restrictions eviscerate Vienna’s hospitality sector, the city’s tour guides show locals the oddities, hidden spots and secrets of the city they call home.

How Romanian Artists Found Inspiration in Vienna

Throughout the ages, Vienna was a nexus for the literary, artistic, scientific and cultural creativity of many Romanians.

Torches on the Hill – Ultra-Conservatives March on the Kahlenberg

The Kahlenberg Church stands where an allied army gathered at dawn September 12, 1683 before sweeping down from the hills to break the Turkish siege of Vienna. Today it is both a cause for celebration and a rallying point for dubious arch-conservative fringe groups.

In Safety and Freedom, Romanian Entrepreneurs Found Success in Vienna

Romanians’ entrepreneurial spirit, long suppressed under the communist regime, is experiencing a renaissance – it can be felt even in Vienna.
 

METROPOLE NEWSLETTER

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