Former Austrian leader charged with giving false evidence to an inquiry

BERLIN (AP) — Austria’s former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has been charged with making false statements to a parliamentary inquiry into a scandal that brought down his first government, prosecutors said Friday.

An indictment against Kurz, his former chief of staff, Bernhard Bonelli, and another unidentified person was filed at the state court in Vienna, the prosecutors’ office that investigates corruption cases said in a statement. The court said Kurz will go on trial on Oct. 18.

The charges result from an investigation that was launched in 2021, when Kurz was still chancellor. It centers on his testimony to a parliamentary probe that focused on alleged corruption in his first government, a coalition with the far-right Freedom Party which collapsed in 2019.

Kurz pulled the plug on that government after a video surfaced showing the vice chancellor and Freedom Party leader at the time, Heinz-Christian Strache, appearing to offer favors to a purported Russian investor.

In the corruption case, Kurz is accused of giving false evidence regarding his role in the setting up of a holding company, OeBAG, which administers the state’s role in some companies.

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