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Heinz-Christian Strache meeting voters. Photo: Facebook

Ibiza video: Excerpts exonerate Heinz-Christian Strache

In the course of the legal proceedings in the Ibiza affair surrounding the former Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, the transcript of previously unpublished sequences from the illegally recorded Ibiza video have been made public.

Published: August 25, 2020, 11:03 am

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    Approximately five-minutes from the files of the investigating Austrian judiciary were published in a daily newspaper in Austria. It exonerates the politician who resigned because of corruption allegations surrounding the edited video.

    Strache told the alleged Russian oligarch and his partner and current main suspect who had wanted to induce him to commit illegal activities with a promise of 270 million euros: “Yes, but that doesn’t work that way.” Strache also emphasized that he would not be interested in anything dishonest: “No, but it would be dishonest.” And he later responds: “No way, I won’t do it. And with me only honest dealing, very honest dealings.”

    The following statement by Strache can also be found in the documents: “There are only very correct standards for me, everything that is attacked in my life today is above board. Yes? And I, there is no such thing as self-enrichment or other shitty plans, there is no such thing.”

    In another transcripted sentence, Strache replied to the statement that illegal offers in the East “would be completely common”: “No, no. But now we’re being honest. With every other shit you make yourself vulnerable and I don’t want to be vulnerable. I want to sleep peacefully. I want to get up in the morning and say: I’m clean.”

    These statements could also exonerate the former FPÖ chairman, Johann Gudenus, who was also present in Ibiza on July 27, 2017 when the conversations were secretly recorded. For example, according to the transcript, he clearly said, “We’re not doing anything illegal, period.”

    After the controversial video appeared in May 2019, which led to the break-up of the ÖVP-FPÖ coalition and new elections, Strache had “repeatedly emphasized” that “he never wanted to do anything dishonest”.

    After the newly published material, he commented: “It shows very well how manipulative the video publication was in May of the previous year. The new five minutes, like the rest of the video, will prove that I have repeatedly emphasized that I don’t want to do anything illegal.”

    His lawyer Johann Pauer made it clear to Oe24 that “so far only a small part of the Ibiza video has been transcribed”. “The expected, more extensive transcription will show more clearly that the selection of the published passages was deliberately disadvantageous for Heinz-Christian Strache.”

    The journalist Boris Reitschuster pointed out that both publications – the Spiegel and the Süddeutsche Zeitung – which had initially published the edited Ibiza video back then in Germany, constituted a “media scandal of unbelievable proportions”.

    He said the public “has been deliberately deceived, with immense consequences. It is particularly strange that the German media almost collectively keep silent about the appearance of the new, apparently exonerating positions”.

    Another journalist spoke of a “political-media scandal” that could “shake the media landscape in Germany and overshadow the publication of the fake Hitler diaries, from which Stern magazine never really recovered”.

    The allegations were rejected by Spiegel. “The alleged new passages from the Ibiza video are neither unknown, nor has the Spiegel concealed it,” Wolf Wiedmann-Schmidt tweeted. “In the first text on the affair of May 17, 2019, we quoted those passages that are now presented as new, partly verbatim.”

    The embarrassment of the federal government and in particular of Chancellor Merkel is becoming increasingly evident after the chief editors of the Südeutsche Zeitung and the Spiegel, who had precise knowledge of the details of the Ibiza video, chose to report it as a “scandal” and “corruption”.

    “It was always clear, but now it is also obvious to every citizen: I am not for sale, not corrupt, but I stand exclusively by my beliefs and do politics for the people of my hometown Vienna and our Austria,” Strache said on Facebook.

    Petr Bystron, foreign policy spokesman for the AfD said: “Reporting by Süddeutsche and Spiegel are the biggest media political scandal in post-war history!”

    In fact, in Germany a similar fate has befallen Andreas Kalbitz, former member of the AfD. The party’s approval ratings have been crumbling. In this way, no paradigm shift can be generated in Germany either and no constructive majorities for political change.

    Unfortunately, the Kalbitz cause will have a similarly weakening effect on the AfD as the Strache cause has affected the FPÖ in Austria. It is now becoming abundantly clear that a demonstrable plot was carried out with the apparently compromising Ibiza video and that this fact must have been known to both the Süddeutsche Zeitung and the Spiegel.

    Although the entire film was available to these two print media outlets, the exonerating film sequences, which clearly prove Strache’s innocence, were deliberately withheld from the public.

    In the Kalbitz case, there have so far only been the very controversial claims but no conclusive evidence against Kalbitz.

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