Austria: Kurz unable to publish his private messages for Ibiza inquiry

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said he is unable to provide his text message conversation with former Vice Chancellor and FPO leader Heinz-Christian Strache as he regularly deletes his messages, at a press conference in Vienna, on Wednesday. Kurz appeared for questioning at the Ibiza affair inquiry, where video footage emerged in 2019 of Strache offering to fix government contracts in exchange for positive press coverage from a woman purporting to be the niece of a Russian oligarch. The committee of inquiry started its work on June 4. Strache has denied the accusations. Kurz stated, «In concern with the text message, I cannot submit my text messages because I regularly delete my text messages, others don't do that, but I do for security reasons.» MPs from the SPO [Social Democratic Party of Austria] and the NEOS [New Austria and Liberal Forum] have demanded that Kurz provide insight into the dates and contact details. Kurz said that he is able to separate his role of being chancellor and making personal decisions, adding, «but for me it is important here, to clearly differentiate between necessary decisions and on the other hand a potential breach of law from some FPO (Freedom Party Austria) politicians, which I clearly reject.» Strache, who used to work as vice-chancellor in Kurz's cabinet, resigned all his political posts and retired from politics in October 2019

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