WKStA investigates Fellner, Strache and FPÖ ministers

They have been investigating for several weeks Economic and Corruption Public Prosecutor's Office, WKStA for shortAgainst the managing director of an Austrian media group on suspicion of advertising fraud. Wolfgang FellnerAs well as against former vice-chancellors Heinz Christian Strauch And some liberal ministers.

This emerges from documents obtained by KURIER and other media, which will now be discussed in the parliamentary inquiry committee.

According to the documents, the Vienna State Prosecutor's Office (OStA) instructed WKStA to investigate suspicions that media tycoon Fellner may have bribed then-FPÖ boss Strauch and later other ministers. In particular, there is doubt as to whether Fellner was in exchange for promising ads (hence public money, note) He promised a positive report.

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Chats documenting the close relationship between Fellner and Strauch in 2019 had already become public in early April.

For example, Strauch complained about the appearance of someone who did not get along well with him Ewald Stadler in Fellner's medium. Strauch threatened Fellner to stop advertising. After some back and forth, the then FPÖ leader finally wrote in an FPÖ internal chat that the dispute with Fellner had been resolved. “Please keep calling Fellner. (…) He's coming towards us.”

The Public Prosecutor's Office is also concerned about former ministers because of Strache's chat messages. Norbert Hofer, Mario Kunacek, Beat Hardinger-Klein And Herbert Giggle Suspicion that they may be involved in a possible advertising scandal – and thus betrayal.

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According to documents obtained by KURIER, the WKStA did not find sufficient initial suspicion to investigate the matter further. In WKStA's internal analysis, one expert writes that “the data set is too difficult” to really clarify the allegations drawn from the chats; The data are somewhat contradictory in that FPÖ-led ministries are by no means uniformly running more or less advertising in private media.

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The senior public prosecutor's office sees the matter differently and urged the lower public prosecutor's office to initiate further investigations “immediately”. On page 1 of a letter to WKStA dated April 18, 2024, “Urgent!” There is also a reference to and “The Statute of Limitations.”

Media owner Wolfgang Fellner has already commented on the matter and considers it “irresponsible”; The accusations are absurd given that he has always been critical of the FPÖ.

In an initial reaction to the APA, the FPÖ again saw a “deep state” within the judiciary and specifically blamed the management of the Vienna Public Prosecutor's Office. Generally, advertising contracts were awarded exclusively to the media for objective reasons.

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