Ibiza affair: Austria's finance minister was questioned
For more than a year, regular surveys have been carried out to break up the Ibiza affair. So far, no important information could be obtained. Now the committee hoped to get interesting evidence by questioning the Austrian finance minister. But this also literally thwarted the committee.
Blümel is behind Novomatic
Why was the Austrian finance minister Blümel questioned?Blümel has been with the ÖVP for years, who is accused of accepting donations from Novomatic. When the allegations became loud, Blümel was the state party chairman of the ÖVP Vienna. Because of that – and because he is now finance minister – he was questioned by the committee. The main issue was illegal payments to the party to change the laws for Novomatic.
Blümel, however, rejected all allegations. There would never have been any donations from Novomatic. At least not with the aim of influencing politicians. He rejected this statement so strongly that in a subsequent press conference he even threatened to sue everyonemit einer Klage drohte who claimed that Novomatic had tried to influence the party through donations , guilty of slander.
During the questioning, Blümel pointed out that neither the party nor any associations had received any donations from Novomatic. This also applies to the clubs for which Blümel was responsible. In thepast there have been allegations that the clubs where politicians sit on the board were sponsored. Novomatic would have tried to influence the party via this private detour.
Blümel denies any form of bribery
During the investigation, it was claimed, for example, that the Wiener Stadtfest association received donations from Novomatic. Blümel also firmly rejected thisaccusation. Blümel also pointed out that no other associations for which he was not responsible received donations.
Blümel also confirmed the incorruptibility of the party in a conversation againstformer Novomatic boss Harald Neumann. Blümel does not find it strange that he turned to the ÖVP in the event of difficulties. Instead, it would be completely normal for companies to turn to politicians when they need support. However, he was unable to say why Neumann turned to Blümel.
As the survey progressed, the issue of the involvement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Finance in the Ibiza affair came up. Blümel is certain that this accusation is not true either. To corroborate this,He conducted internal investigations. Nothing would have come of this. It is unclear whether Blümel is just trying to get out of the affair. Finally, he was summoned before the committee because clear messages between Neumann and Blümel could be secured in the course of house investigations.
Far-reaching consequences for Blümel
The correspondence could have fatal consequences for Blümel. The opposition is now demanding Blümel's resignation andBlümel was reported after the questioning forfalse statements an. NEO General Secretary Nick Donig, on the other hand, calls for all documents to be disclosed. This includes all donation payments from Novomatic that went either to the party itself or to clubs. The outcome of this could bring the truth to light, which hopefully will be construed positively for all involved.
Such disclosure can also be important for Blümel's future. After all, as finance minister he is responsible forissuing licenses to gambling companies. For this reason, Novomatic is accused of trying to influence the law through donations. It also became known during the investigation that Novomatic, together with the ÖVP, had tried to get rid of the Czech company Sazka. This company has always had a stake in Casinos Austria. In the meantime, it even owns the majority of the state casinos.
Blümel already tried to react to the unpleasant consequences of the Ibiza affair a few months ago. He suggested that there should be aneutral gambling authority in Austria, which is also responsible for the licenses. As a result, the parties will no longer be the focus of gambling companies in the future and under no circumstances can they be influenced by financial support. Whether Blümel wanted to distract from the incidents with this idea may never come to light. At least he is neutral with this idea.
Novomatic has already withdrawn from Austria
Novomatic probably never wanted to sell its stake in Casinos Austria. However, things turned out differently andNovomatic has partially withdrawn from Austria. Interestingly, this move was announced just as investigations into the Ibiza affair began. In February 2020, Novomatic announced that the company would not seek new licenses. Originally, the company wanted to have new licenses for the small game of chance. Petty gambling means placing slot machines in bars and restaurants.
When the withdrawal from Austria was announced, Neumann was still CEO of Novomatic. With theretreat, the public has definitely made a connection with the affair. After all, Neumann said at the time that he did not want to be accused again of influencing the government. It would therefore make more sense for Novomatic if the future lay in international business.