In Austria, Sebastian Kurz was convicted of perjury

In Austria, Sebastian Kurz was convicted of perjury

Former conservative Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz was found guilty of perjury on Friday, February 23, after a trial in which he was accused of lying to a parliamentary committee. “Sebastian Kurz is guilty.”The judge in Vienna announced that he had sentenced him to eight months in prison with a suspended sentence before the court of first instance, at the request of the prosecution.

The 37-year-old former prime minister told the press upon leaving the court that he wanted to appeal “Optimistically” Of the decision “sudden” And “it is not fair”. Throughout the twelve days of hearings, the former political prodigy turned private sector consultant proclaimed his innocence and blamed prosecutors and opponents for his legal setbacks. “They wanted to destroy me”initiate.

After becoming the youngest elected leader on the planet at the age of 31 in 2017, before forcefully retiring in the fall of 2021, he was accused of lying to a parliamentary committee.

Sebastian Kurz, the first chancellor on the bench for more than thirty years, refuted its existence “Knowingly” He misled MPs when they questioned him in 2020 about his role in appointing a close friend, Thomas Schmid, to the head of a very powerful public holding company.

“I was informed, but I was not the one who made the decision.”He said, while the prosecution on the contrary portrayed him as in control of everything in his political formation, relying in particular on the numerous SMS messages that were scrutinized.

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“Curtis system”

In Austria, interfering in the appointment process is not a crime in itself, but concealing the truth during interrogation under oath is punishable by three years in prison. The witnesses called – about a dozen in total, including former ministers – mostly defended his version of the facts.

But except for the main protagonist: Thomas Schmid, a former friend who is now cooperating with the justice system in hopes of receiving a reduced sentence. He was overshadowed during a two-day hearing citing “Curtis system”To say he likes to interfere in nominations. In order to discredit him, Sebastian Kurz summoned two Russian businessmen, and the last day of the trial began with the testimony of the second of them, who spoke via video from the Austrian embassy in Moscow.

“The last chapter is terrible.”according to the daily Der Standard : The first actually left the public scratching their heads by announcing that the defendant's attorney had helped him write his statement.

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On suspicion of embezzlement of public funds

Sebastian Kurz “It does not emerge from the way he conducted himself during the trial.”According to estimates by political analyst Thomas Hofer, who was interviewed by Agence France-Presse. He acted like a politician obsessed with his public image, not really knowing how to adapt to the pace of the court. »

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In addition to this trial, the former leader is suspected of embezzling public funds to conduct rigged opinion polls and ensure laudatory coverage in the tabloids, following his meteoric rise. The investigation into this aspect of corruption is still ongoing. Many issues arising from the scandal known as“Ibizagate”. In 2019, a hidden camera video taken on the Spanish island of Ibiza during a vacation by Austrian officials revealed possible fraudulent practices in the political class.

Under these circumstances, political analyst Thomas Hofer does not expect Sebastian Kurz to return to the forefront of the political scene in the near future. However, some would have seen him saving his former party (ÖVP), which is struggling in the opinion polls, with a wide margin over the far right, given its lead in the legislative elections scheduled for the end of September. He himself denies any ambition, preferring to increase lucrative international cooperation in the private sector, especially in circles close to Donald Trump.

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