Green group leader Nina Tomaselli asked whether it was true that he was the “emergency candidate” of the former Novomatic boss Neumann and quoted from an email. M: “This is evidence from my trial, I will not comment on it.”
Not yet interviewed by the WKStA
As a reason for his many refusals, M. stated that he had not yet been questioned by the Economic and Corruption Public Prosecutor’s Office (WKStA). He wanted to answer to the public prosecutor’s office first before commenting on it anywhere else.
M. actually only answered clearly who he knew – or rather who he did not know. He was never active in the FPÖ, nor was he active in a fraternity, he said.
Neither does he know the FPÖ man Peter Sidlo, nor the former Liberal Secretary of State for Finance Hubert Fuchs, Ex-ÖVP finance minister Hartwig Löger or ÖBAG sole director Thomas Schmid personally. In general, M. emphasized that he “basically does not” act with the Austrian Ministry of Finance.
“The Novomatic doesn’t pay everyone”
M. followed at 4 p.m. Stefan K., Public Affairs Director of the gambling company. He stated that Novomatic, as a successful company, has been a cooperation partner and sponsor of a number of clubs and events for decades. There are always contracts for agreed services.
“No, the Novomatic doesn’t pay everyone,” he replied to the Strache-Sager. “But many want the support of Novomatic.”
Yes, he also has to do with politicians, stated K. However, he rules out that Novomatic made a donation to a party. Basically, there is nothing wrong with doing it properly, he said.
“Transparent rules anchored in the group”
Like his colleague Alexander M. in the previous survey, K. also emphasized that sponsoring decisions are made according to “transparent rules anchored in the group” and that without “inadmissible” counterclaims.
Judge Pöschl wanted to know more about the cooperation between Novomatic and associations. For example with the Liberal Institute for Security Policy (ISP). The Economic and Corruption Public Prosecutor (WKStA) has already closed its investigations into donations to associations of all parties.
K. confirmed the cooperation with the ISP, after all it was possible to establish contacts with leading figures in the area of security policy. And the Ministry of Defense would also have cooperated with the association.
According to his own statement, K. was not involved in the appointment of the FPÖ-related Sidlo to the board of Novomatic. The company didn’t have the right to make nominations, he noted. K. was also convinced that there was no “background deal” with Sidlo.
“If Novomatic had wanted to donate, it would have implemented it”
The head of public affairs also defended the gaming company’s cooperation with the Alois Mock Institute, whose president is the chairman of the U Committee, President of the National Council, Wolfgang Sobotka (ÖVP). “Our headquarters are in Lower Austria, and that is where our sponsorship focuses,” he said in response to questions raised by the MPs.
“We want to be perceived there as an employer, to be able to present our brand there,” explained K. However, “it is important that there are clear services and consideration”.
At the Mock Institute, he identified this in the fact that Novomatic would like to be associated with the name of the former ÖVP Foreign Minister Alois Mock and the European idea that he stands for: “We stand by that, that’s why we promote it.” He justified the placement of advertisements in a club magazine by stating that it was aimed specifically at decision-makers.
But he could not say anything about how the cooperation came about. That was before his time. Basically, however, Novomatic supports over 350 clubs.
In any case, K. stated that he had never approached parties to discuss donations. In the summer of 2017, during the National Council election campaign at the time, the former Novomatic boss Neumann had the idea that the Novomatic could donate to all parties. “This idea was not pursued any further, it was not implemented,” said the head of public affairs. If Novomatic had wanted to donate, it would have been implemented.
The further timetable
Actually, too Markus Braun, Board member of Sigma Investment AG, should be questioned on Wednesday. He canceled with reference to the corona pandemic. He should be loaded again – under threat of a flexion penalty and the demonstration.
Tomorrow, Thursday, the MPs hope to gain insights into the investigative work on the Ibiza-Video. The head of the Economic and Corruption Public Prosecutor’s Office (WKStA) is questioned, Ilse Vrabl-Sanda.
According to her, an official from the Ministry of Finance should speak about the legislative process on Thursday. Last but not least, the Casinos Austria authorized signatory decides Peter Erlacher the year again with the theme of gambling.