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Jun 5 · Last update 10 days ago.

Should Austria’s Chancellor stand down?

At just 34 years old Sebastian Kurz is the youngest head of state in the world, but during his time as Austria’s Chancellor his government have been the subject of multiple scandals. A vote of no confidence was passed against his government and he was removed from office in 2019 as a result of the “Ibiza affair”, only to be re-elected in a snap election the same year. Kurz is now the subject of a corruption inquiry over his appointment of the head of the country’s sovereign wealth fund, Thomas Schmid. Is Sebastian Kurz a corrupt political actor? Should he step-down as the country's Chancellor? Or are others at fault in these scandals?
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No

The whole Ibizagate scandal stemmed from a leaked video, but there remain many unanswered questions about this video, who is responsible, the timescale and the selective editing are all issues that make this video seem very dubious. The main question is who recorded this video and why they waited so long to leak it, the fact that we know it to have been contracted by Iranian-born lawyer Ramin Mirfakhrai already makes it somewhat suspicious. But the fact that in August 2020, the Austrian public prosecutor's office received extra 5 minutes of the video that were originally edited out, which relieve Strache of the corruption accusations completely and undermine the validity of the recordings, make the whole Ibiza affair seem like a selectively edit smear campaign. These tapes should therefore be completely disregarded, they definitely do not implicate Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, and it was wrong for this to end the Austrian coalition government in 2019.

welt.de/politik/ausland/article214060112/Ibiza-Video-Neue-Sequenzen-koennten-Strache-entlasten.html thetimes.co.uk/article/dirty-toes-almost-gave-away-sting-that-shattered-austrian-politics-530fbkdsg ion.ir/news/474016/%D8%AF%DA%A9%D8%AA%D8%B1-%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%85%DB%8C%D9%86-%D9%85%DB%8C%D8%B1%D9%81%D8%AE%D8%B1%D8%A7%DB%8C%DB%8C welt.de/politik/ausland/article214060112/Ibiza-Video-Neue-Sequenzen-koennten-Strache-entlasten.html

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Jun 10
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DH edited this paragraph
The whole Ibizagate scandal stemmed from a leaked video, but there remain many unanswered questions about this video, who is responsible, the timescale and the selective editing are all issues that make this video seem very dubious. The main question is who recorded this video and why they waited so long to leak it, the fact that we know it to have been contracted by Iranian-born lawyer Ramin Mirfakhrai already makes it somewhat suspicious. But the fact that in August 2020, the Austrian public prosecutor's office received extra 5 minutes of the video that were originally edited out, which relieve Strache of the corruption accusations completely and undermine the validity of the recordings, make the whole Ibiza affair seem like a selectively edit smear campaign. These tapes should therefore be completely disregarded, they definitely do not implicate Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, and it was wrong for this to end the Austrian coalition government in 2019.

Yes

The scandals surrounding Sebastian Kurz are all connected, starting with the Ibizagate scandal in 2019, when a video surfaced of Kurz's vice-Chancellor, Heinz-Christian Strache, discussing exchanging political influence for financial support with someone he believed to be a Russian oligarch. The video led to a string of criminal investigations into many Austrian ministers and corporate executives for allegedly exchanging casino licences for jobs and political favours in return for financial contributions. However it was Kurz’s appointment of Thomas Schmid as the head of a state holding company, known as ÖBAG, over which Kurz is now the subject of a perjury inquiry.

This sovereign wealth fund company is worth more than €26 billion, Schmid is a "party loyalist”, and Kurz lied about appointing him, something that was revealed through Kurz’s own leaked text messages. Schmid in turn was responsible for the appointment of Peter Sidlo, the chief financial officer of Austrian Casinos, and so the corrupt circle of influence was connected. Regardless of the outcome of these corruption inquiries, Kurz has clearly lied about not being responsible for his role in Schmid’s appointment and is clearly further involved in dishonest conduct if he is so clearly willing to deny the reality of his own statements and text messages.

bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-57087817 politico.eu/article/austria-chancellor-sebastian-kurz-investigation-ibiza-scandal theguardian.com/world/2021/may/14/austria-chancellor-sebastian-kurz-political-future-in-doubt-over-lying-allegation

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