Austria: Austrian prosecutors search finance minister’s home in bribery probe

Austrian prosecutors on Thursday searched the home of Finance Minister Gernot Bluemel, a close ally of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, on suspicion of bribery involving a gambling company seeking help with foreign taxes.

The investigation into Bluemel and two other unnamed people is part of a wider probe stemming from the infamous Ibiza video sting that led to the collapse in 2019 of a previous coalition government between Kurz’s conservatives and the far-right Freedom Party then led by Heinz-Christian Strache.

At the heart of that wider probe are allegations that government officials and gambling firm Novomatic agreed to appoint a former FPO official as a director of Casinos Austria, a company in which Austria and Novomatic owned stakes, in exchange for gambling licences and other favours for Novomatic.

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