Schwarzblaues Hickhack – Pascuttini testifies in the final of the U-Committee

The investigative committee set up by the ÖVP into the “red-blue abuse of power” ends with the survey days on Tuesday and Wednesday as it began: with rejections. The chairman of the Freedom Party, Herbert Kickl, declined his second questioning with reference to a mountain tour. On Monday, Kickl’s “trustee contract partner” Thomas Sila also canceled. At the survey day on Tuesday, all eyes are therefore on the former Graz Freedom Party member Alexis Pascuttini.

The story surrounding the former Graz Freedom Party member Alexis Pascuttini is like a bruise that could still hurt the FPÖ. The former Freedom Party member was invited to the U-Committee on red-blue abuse of power on Tuesday. The parties were hoping for answers from him in advance about the Styrian financial affair, but above all also to the question of what FPÖ federal party leader Herbert Kickl and state leader Mario Kunasek knew about it.The Styrian financial crime storyBut what is the blue financial crime story actually about? As reported, shortly after the FPÖ’s electoral defeat in Graz in the local council elections in 2021, it became known that money from the city’s club funding had apparently been diverted on a large scale. After the voluntary disclosure by the blue finance officer Matthias Eder, it became known that former deputy mayor Mario Eustacchio and the former club boss could also be involved. Both stepped back. Both have been under investigation ever since. Eustacchio was followed by Alexis Pascuttini as club chairman. As a result, Pascuttini apparently took the “cleaning up” in his own city party too seriously and excluded a local councilor against the wishes of Herbert Kickl and Mario Kunasek. He also doubted Eder’s lone perpetrator theory and joined the proceedings with his own lawyer. The return coach didn’t take long to arrive. In the fall of 2022, Pascuttini himself was kicked out of the party by Kickl and Kunasek. His planned book is supposed to be entitled “When everyone commits infidelity” and contains political “explosives”. In the run-up to his appearance in the U-Committee on Tuesday, there was an “Ibiza” at the sausage stand. Copies of a tape available to “Krone” that Pascuttini recorded during a chance meeting with Eder caused unrest – and nervousness – in advance in the blue environment. In a heavily drunken state, as he himself reported through his lawyer, Eder suggested that Kickl and Kunasek were involved. He later firmly retracted all of the statements made that evening. For Pascuttini they are still credible, as he explained in his opening statement. He didn’t believe the lone perpetrator theory from the start and, according to his own statements, originally wanted to “just set up a traffic mirror” in Graz and now finds himself in criminal proceedings. Kickl’s right-hand man is interviewed. The second person to provide information is Reinhard Teufel, Kickl’s former head of cabinet. He is considered Kickl’s right-hand man, is currently club chairman of the Freedom Party in Lower Austria and is supposed to explain his perceptions of Kickl’s income. Eva-Maria Holzleitner, popular women’s leader and SPÖ parliamentary group leader in the U-Committee, discovered a wealth of “tricks” in the run-up to the survey “, which Kickl used as the supposed representative of the little man in order to organize additional income on top of the parliamentarian’s salary. In 2010, Kickl initially “forgot” to register the full-time job, which was also discussed by the ÖVP, as an employee of the FPÖ Vienna. According to documents available to the SPÖ, Kickl is said to have received more than 8,300 euros as a salary from the blue Vienna city party between 2007 and 2017. According to the SPÖ, the bottom line was that more than 1.3 million euros were spent. “In the end, there isn’t much left of the clean man image that Kickl likes to claim for itself,” criticizes Holzleitner. Higher penalties are required. The other parties also expressed Kickl’s rejection in advance of the first survey. In order to prevent cancellations like this in the future, Meri Disoki, the green group leader in the U-Committee, called for an increase in the penalties. “Not appearing must also hurt financially,” explained the Green Party. “I understand that Kickl doesn’t want to appear. But he is the coward of the nation and has earned significantly more than he wants to admit,” said ÖVP parliamentary group leader Andreas Hanger in advance.Hafenecker: “It doesn’t work out at all”For Christian Hafenecker, FPÖ parliamentary group leader in the U- Committee, “it’s no longer worth it.” Hanger is just jealous that he “earns nothing from his garden gnome trade”. The U-Committee is a farce. It is also clear to Hafenecker that Hanger is committing a breach of the law with Pascuttini’s questioning, as the Styrian financial case has nothing to do with the federal administration. Hafenecker also suggested that the ÖVP Pascuttini could pay the lawyer and announced legal action against Holzleitner and Hanger for violations of tax secrecy. Immediately before the questioning, the trial judge also expressed doubts that Pascuttini could be asked questions that were covered by the subject of the investigation . If one were to question testimonies on any topic, this would mean that in the future committees could be run completely outside of the subject matter of the investigation.
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