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Suspicion of false statements against Kurz: reports of incriminating photos on cell phones

Suspicion of false statements against Kurz: reports of incriminating photos on cell phones

As reported on Monday by Zeit im Bild, “Standard”, “Presse” and Zackzack.at, Löger was questioned by senior WKStA prosecutors in November. This conversation should have been about the role that Löger played in personnel decisions, for example at the ÖBAG holding company. In 2019, Thomas Schmid, formerly Secretary General of the Ministry of Finance, was appointed sole director of ÖBAG.

In the conversation, WKStA is said to have presented Löger with a photo that it found on his confiscated smartphone. Difficult: the researchers had removed and restored the photo. According to the researchers’ interpretation, the image shows a supplementary letter on the government’s job allocation program. Among other things, it should have been pointed out that the ÖVP should appoint the supervisory board and the management board of ÖBAG. This point is notable because board members are nominated by the board of directors.

Cause in short: new evidence emerged

What deleted photo on the cell phone of the former Finance Minister has to do with the investigation against the president of the ÖVP club, Sebastian Kurz.

Small group meetings

The photo metadata is a focal point. The photo is said to have been taken on January 14, 2019. On this day, Löger is said to have had an appointment with Kurz and his chief of staff Bernhard Bonelli, as well as then-Chancellor Gernot Blümel (ÖVP). According to media reports, the WKStA assumes that Löger photographed the supplementary letter at the appointment and later deleted it.

Löger is said to have stated that he was unaware of the photo. According to reports, there should be talks suggesting that relevant personnel decisions were discussed at the appointment. From the WKStA point of view, this should support the fact that Kurz should have been involved in filling positions.

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Investigations of false testimonies as background

Background: The WKStA determined after a complaint against Kurz on suspicion of false statements in the U-Committee “Ibiza”. In essence, it is about the question of the intensity with which Kurz participated in the reform of the state holding company ÖBAG during the government of the ÖVP-FPÖ. When questioned by the committee, Kurz had denied that he was closely involved. The board of directors has appointed the board of directors. However, the chat logs that emerged later suggested close coordination between Schmid and Kurz.

The ÖVP said on Monday that the new document comes from the government’s negotiations with the FPÖ in 2017. Such a thing is nothing unusual. The federal government has to exercise “different legally regulated appointment and staffing rights.”

“It is a normal political process that within a government, including the current one with the Greens or before with the SPÖ and FPÖ, or in general in government negotiations on nomination rights, a consensus is established,” said a spokesman for Kurz in a written statement. “Of course, this also affected the legally regulated appointment of the ÖBIB investment management board, as well as, for example, the appointment rights of the VfGH judges.”

Löger: Briefly “partially informed”

The ÖVP does not see Kurz burdened by this, rather they see him relieved by Löger’s most recent statements. According to the interrogation protocol available to the APA, Löger responded to the question whether Kurz was involved in the appointment of the supervisory board, the selection of the supervisory board or the preparatory actions for this: “From my personal point of view , it was well informed of me. “

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There were also conversations that Löger did not inform Kurz about. “He knew the structure from me in the sense of the above. For example, he brought me a suggestion with Sigi Wolf. I informed him in part about my conversations. But I didn’t specifically ask for his opinion or even his approval. “

ÖVP sees a brief confirmed information

From the ÖVP perspective, Löger confirms Kurz’s statements. In the case of the investment management company ÖBIB that existed at that time, the law stipulated that the government, at the proposal of the Minister of Finance, had to approve the managing director to be appointed by the general assembly. In the case of further development of the company, precautions had been taken “that any nomination rights arising from the federal government would also have been with the ÖVP”.

Ultimately, however, the appointment of the board of directors was left to the supervisory board. And the nominating committee, the composition of which was agreed in government negotiations, was abolished in the course of the reform, according to the ÖVP statement.

Kurz also stated in his survey that “it was always clear that potential federal government personnel decisions regarding company investments would rest with the ÖVP in the form of the finance minister. Hartwig Löger fully confirmed this statement ”. The presumption of innocence applies to all those involved.