Prosecution now possible: Ex-Chancellor Kurz loses immunity

Prosecution now possible
Ex-Chancellor Kurz loses immunity

Embellished surveys and purchased positive media reports are said to have made the rise of Sebastian Kurz possible in the first place – financed with taxpayers’ money. The judiciary is now allowed to investigate the ex-chancellor. However, the 35-year-old expects the investigations to prove his innocence.

The parliament in Austria has cleared the way for further prosecution against ex-Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. As the Austrian news agency APA reported, the National Council voted unanimously in favor. The conservative, who was previously protected by his parliamentary immunity, had resigned after allegations of infidelity, bribery and corruption.

The 35-year-old Kurz had recently held back with appearances and statements. With a view to the parliamentary vote, he said, according to the APA news agency: “I am glad if the investigations of the Economic and Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (WKStA) progress quickly, and I know that the matter will soon be clarified.” The “false accusations against my person” could be quickly refuted.

Kurz is probably preparing for a comeback

Kurz resigned just over a month ago after it became known that the WKStA was investigating him on suspicion of breach of trust, bribery and corruption. The team of the former chancellor is said to have secured his rise to the top of the ÖVP and government since 2016 through embellished surveys and bought positive media reports. In return, large sums of money, including taxpayers’ money, are said to have been used for advertisements.

The ex-chancellor rejects all allegations and, according to observers, is preparing for his comeback. After resigning from the office of head of government, he returned to the National Council as a member of parliament and as chairman of the ÖVP parliamentary group.

According to his own statements, the 35-year-old expects that the investigation will eventually prove his innocence. At the same time, the ÖVP commissioned a criminal law professor close to the party to issue a private report, which mainly accuses the WKStA: The concrete suspicion against Kurz can be “in no way understood”, the investigators dealt with “speculations and speculations”, explained the author Peter Lewisch .

“I was not guilty of anything”

How this report came about and how it was interpreted, however, raises questions. It was printed on paper with the logo of the University of Vienna, where Lewisch works. The university, in turn, distanced itself: “It is a personal report, not one of the institution,” she said, according to the APA. Other criminal law professors criticized the process sharply and made Lewisch allegations.

This did not prevent ÖVP representatives and supporters from declaring the party leader’s innocence as proven. “I was not guilty of anything, as a legal opinion recently revealed,” said the ex-Chancellor himself. Criminally relevant allegations were “to be decided in court, not by an expert,” said the managing director of the Austrian Social Democrats, Christian German, according to the APA.

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