Millennium Post

Austria ex-vice chancellor's home raided in graft probe

Vienna: The home of a former far-right vice-chancellor of Austria has been raided in a corruption probe, reports said Tuesday, a further potential headache for ex-chancellor Sebastian Kurz as he seeks re-election.

Heinz-Christian Strache's house was raided Monday as part of a bribery investigation into the appointment of a far-right party official to a high-ranking position at Casinos Austria (Casag), according to media reports.

Strache stepped down as vice-chancellor and leader of the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) in May over the so-called "Ibiza-gate" affair, which also ended up bringing down Kurz and his coalition government.

The raid is not related to that scandal, but it could further hurt Kurz's People's Party (OeVP) in the September 29 polls.

The OeVP has been widely expected to once again emerge as the single strongest party, but it is still expected to need a coalition partner to reach an absolute majority in parliament.

In the latest investigation, prosecutors are probing whether a company appointment was made in return for the promise of granting gambling licenses to the casino developer and manager, a spokesman for the Public Prosecutor's Office against Corruption said.

Several raids have been conducted, he said.

Austrian media named Strache among those involved. The Standard daily reported the OeVP had signed off on the appointment of the FPOe official to Casag.

There was no immediate comment from either Strache or Kurz.

Strache is already under investigation over hidden camera recordings that were made on the resort island of Ibiza in 2017 and showed

him appearing to offer public contracts in return for campaign help to a fake Russian backer.

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