Sebastian Kurz: Ex-Austria leader charged with misleading parliament


Austria’s ex-chancellor Sebastian Kurz has been charged with giving false evidence at a parliamentary committee.

Mr Kurz, who resigned in 2021, was accused of misleading the committee when asked about appointments to the state holding company.

If found guilty the former People’s Party leader could face up to three years in prison.

Mr Kurz denied the charges in a statement posted to social media, calling them “groundless”.

“We look forward to the truth finally coming to light and the accusations proving to be unfounded in court,” he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The allegations relate to answers Mr Kurz gave during committee hearings in 2020 and 2021, where he downplayed his role in the appointment of the head of the state holding company, Öbag.

Evidence obtained from chat messages later suggested he was significantly more involved in the process than he had suggested.

He was first informed in 2021, while he was still in power, that he was suspected of providing false testimony.

Mr Kurz denied the allegations at the time, accusing the committee of trying to “twist every word in your mouth”.

His trial will begin on 18 October and is expected to last three days, prosecutors said. His former chief of staff, Bernhard Bonelli, is facing the same charges.

In a statement on Friday officials said the pair “are accused of giving false testimony before the so-called Ibiza committee of inquiry in the Austrian parliament… regarding the alleged corruptibility of his government”.

Mr Kurz stepped down in October 2021, after allegations surfaced that finance ministry funds were used to manipulate opinion polls in favour of his party (OVP) that were then published in a newspaper.

At the time he called the allegations against him “baseless”.

He became leader of the ÖVP in May 2017 and led his party to victory in elections later that year – becoming, at the age of 31, one the world’s youngest ever democratically elected heads of government.

Since leaving office, he has been working as a global strategist for tech investor Thiel