Heinz-Christian Strache: Ex-vice-chancellor faces corruption trial

Heinz-Christian StracheAustrian right-wing politician Heinz-Christian Strache is set to go on trial on corruption charges.

The case relates to the “Ibizagate” scandal, which brought an end to a conservative-led coalition and to his stint as vice-chancellor in 2019. It originated in a video sting that showed Mr Strache speaking to a woman claiming to be a wealthy Russian. He appeared to hint at potentially illegal donations to the far-right Freedom Party, which he then led. He has denied wrongdoing, attributing what he said in the video to intoxication.

But the revelation opened the way for a number of corruption investigations, after mobile phones belonging to Mr Strache and other politicians were seized. In the current case, Mr Strache is accused of offering to change a law to help a donor to his party secure public funding for his private hospital. He could face a five-year prison sentence if convicted. It shows Mr Strache and another Freedom Party politician drinking and talking to the woman – reportedly at a villa on the Spanish island of Ibiza.

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