Austria's far-right vice chancellor resigns over corruption allegations

Austria's far-right vice chancellor resigns over corruption allegations
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Austria's far-right Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache has resigned following allegations of corruption in a secretly taped film.

Strache announced his resignation Saturday after German news outlets posted a video of him in which he allegedly offered government contracts to a woman who said she was a Russian investor and related to an oligarch.

A member of the far-right Freedom Party, Strache said he did not do "anything against the law" and called the reports "a targeted political attack," CNN reported. He said, however, that he wanted to "apologize to everyone I have disappointed with my behavior."

Strache said he would resign as leader of the Freedom Party (FPO), which, together with the conservative People's Party, forms the country's ruling coalition.


It was not clear who filmed the video, which took place in 2017 ahead of the Austrian elections, news outlets Der Spiegel and Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.

In the video posted by the outlets, the woman reportedly said she would buy a significant stake in Austria's Kronen-Zeitung newspaper to make sure it supported Strache's party. 

Strache characterized the meeting as a "private conversation" in Ibiza, Spain, according to CNN. He said that he was "drunk" and that "no donations have been made to the party" because of the discussion.

"It was a typical alcohol-infused macho behavior ... With this I have hurt the most important person in my life, which is my wife," he said.

Strache's resignation comes ahead of the European Parliament elections, which will be held later this month.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, the leader of the country's center-right People's Party, was expected to address the resignation of his vice chancellor later Saturday.

Speculation has swirled that Kurz may call a snap election, Reuters reported, less than two years after the coalition government with FPO was formed.