Yesterday the call for legal consequences grew louder.
The Chancellor set the tone. Sebastian Kurz, who visited the joint venture between Lenzing and Palmers in 2020, said when asked by journalists whether he too had been duped: “If there is fraud here, then we have all been deceived.” He sees no responsibility for politics, but demands “full clarification”.
The investigation is led by the public prosecutor’s office for corruption and economic affairs, which Kurz and the ÖVP recently attacked for raiding Finance Minister Gernot Blümel’s house.
Parliament purchased 23,000 Hygiene Austria masks at a cost of around 32,000 euros.
The President of the National Council, Wolfgang Sobotka (VP), commissioned the Parliamentary Directorate with the legal examination of all claims that could be asserted against the manufacturer: “If an order is placed with the confidence that the label” Made in Austria “corresponds to the facts, and then the suspicion of a faked designation of origin cannot remain without consequences. “
The opposition parties also want to get to the bottom of the affair. SP vice club boss Jörg Leichtfried sees “questionable processes” around Hygiene Austria. He would like to know whether there was an attempt to give preference to the company when placing the order and whether there was a connection with the personal relationship between the company’s management and the chancellor’s environment.
The company’s managing director is a relative of Lisa Wieser, Kurz’s office manager. So far, of course, there has been no evidence that she might be involved in the matter.
“Big problem of transparency”
Next week, the Neos want to discuss the purchase of masks in the “small committee of inquiry” into procurement policy. The aim is to question why a Council of Ministers decision had indirectly attempted to give the order to a domestic provider for the dispatch of FFP2 masks to people over 65. Vice-club chairman Nikolaus Scherak speaks of a “comprehensive transparency problem”.
For the FPÖ, the relabelled Hygiene Austria masks would even be a reason for a political change.
In a broadcast on Friday, party leader Norbert Hofer described an early election of the National Council as “overdue” because: “The federal government shares responsibility. It is enough now. This government is the worst that Austria has ever had. It will not just be a case for the judiciary, but hopefully soon also a case for the electorate. “
The cause also appears to be a “large-scale fraud” against taxpayers. (chk)
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