New evidence found in anti-corruption probe against Kurz

According to the messages, Schmid managed to raise the budget of Kurz’ foreign ministry, allegedly without the knowledge of then Finance Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner. [EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET]

Austria’s Prosecutor’s Office for Economic Affairs and Corruption (WKStA) revealed new evidence in a corruption investigation against Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, focusing on a chat conversation dating from 2016.

According to the messages between then foreign minister Kurz and ministry head of office Thomas Schmid, the latter increased the ministry budget allegedly without the knowledge of then finance minister, Reinhold Mitterlehner.

“You got a budget raise of 30%! We did that JUST for you. More than 160 Million Euro more!,” Schmid texted Kurz, according to the prosecutor, adding: “You owe me :-)))!”

Schmid also bragged about this to current Finance Minister Gernot Blümel, who, at the time, served as the head of the ÖVP Vienna. “Kurz can shit money now,” he messaged Blümel.

The prosecutor’s office said the message could be a “substantial component to understand the appointment” of Schmid as the head of Austria’s state holding company three years later and that it hints at a potential trade of favours between the two.

The ruling conservative party ÖVP denied the allegations and called them “absurd.” They stressed that the chats only show standard procedures and claimed that the WKStA is politically biased towards the ÖVP.  (Oliver Noyan |

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