THE AUSTRIAN government is currently grappling with a major corruption probe investigating dealings between the leading OVP party and a gambling company.
Austria’s ruling People’s Party (OVP) has been rocked by a corruption probe alleging that top figures accepted donations from an online gambling company in exchange for lucrative licenses and other political favours.
The country was scandalised when police raided the home of finance minister Gernot Bleumal – who is suspected of offering the Casinos Austria online gambling (i-gaming) company state licenses in return for donations.
He is also accused of getting his former coalition ally Peter Sidlo, of the Freedom Party (FPO), a top job as Chief Financial Officer of Novomatic – a major stakeholder company in the online casino company – despite his lack of business experience.
Opposition leaders, and members of Bleumal’s own party, have demanded the immediate resignation of the finance minister in the wake of the scandal.
“A finance minister who has their house searched in the event of gambling can no longer remain finance minister and must face the consequences,“ said Beate Meinl-Reisinger, leader of Austrian opposition NEOS party, according to local media.
Bleumal is not the first Austrian finance minister to face corruption charges – in December one of his predecessors, Karl Heinz Gasser, was jailed for his role in a multi-million bribery conspiracy.
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