Austria′s ex-vice chancellor sues over Ibiza video | News | DW | 24.05.2019
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Austria's ex-vice chancellor sues over Ibiza video

Heinz-Christian Strache has announced he is suing several people in connection with the video that ended his political career. He has denied that there is also footage of him taking drugs and committing sex acts.

Austria's embattled former-Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache issued a statement on his public Facebook page on Friday, saying that he was suing three people he suspected of being behind the now infamous Ibiza video that prompted his resignation.

He also attempted to shut down rumors that there were more videos containing more salacious material.

"Contrary to what the media claim," said Strache, there is no footage "that shows me consuming drugs and committing sexual acts." He called the claims such a tape existed "absurd."

In the post, the ex-leader of the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) apologized again for his actions, calling them "stupid and, particularly in the realm of politics, totally unacceptable."

Later on Friday, reports emerged that the three parties in Strache's lawsuit were a Vienna lawyer, a detective, and a female imposter. Germany's Bild tabloid reported that the incident in Ibiza was set up by the trio, who deny any wrongdoing as they were attempting to uncover political irregularities.

Government crisis

Last week, a pair of German media outlets published part of a nearly seven-hour video that shows Strache in a villa on the Spanish island of Ibiza a few months before Austria's October 2017 national vote. In the video, he discussed an exchange of lucrative government contracts for help winning the election with a woman claiming to be the niece of a Russian oligarch.

The 49-year-old promptly resigned, and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced snap elections set for the fall. The rest of the FPÖ ministers in Kurz's Cabinet have also stepped down. Kurz faces a confidence vote in parliament next week.

On Friday, Kurz pulled out of a planned campaign stop in Munich for the ongoing EU election. He had been due to lend his support to the European People's Party (EPP), currently the biggest bloc in the European Parliament, whose leader, German conservative politician Manfred Weber, is hoping to become president of the European Commission.

Strache did not give the name of anyone he was suing, or what crimes he was accusing them of. However, both Der Spiegel magazine and newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung have already been targeted by Germany's data protection commissioner over privacy concerns after they published several minutes of the video.

es/sms (dpa, AFP)

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