Telekom Scandal Grows
Austria News Briefs
The growing corruption scandal surrounding Telekom Austria (TA), the country’s largest telecommunications firm, claimed its most high profile victim when Wolfgang Schüssel (People’s Party, ÖVP) stepped down as Member of Parliament on Sept. 5.
While claiming ignorance, the former Chancellor had come under pressure after members of his ÖVP-BZÖ (Union for Austria’s Future) coalition government from 2003 to 2007 were accused of accepting money in return for favouring TA in allocating public sector contracts and regulating public utilities.
The allegations were made by Gernot Schieszler, a former CFO at TA, who has offered himself to public prosecutors as a "crown witness" in order to mitigate his own sentence for his role in the affair.
Suspicions of wide-ranging bribery by TA, engulfing the ÖVP, FPÖ (Freedom Party), and BZÖ, first emerged when prosecutors stumbled upon dubious invoices when investigating the unrelated "BUWOG affair" regarding the privatisation of public housing, in 2008.