Austrian ex- finance minister jailed for corruption
Published: 06:09 PM, 5 December 2020
A criminal court of Vienna on Friday sentenced Austria’s former Finance Minister Karl-Heinz Grasser to eight years in prison for his involvement in a large scale of corruption, the country's biggest corruption since World War II, BBC reported.
It has been reported that a total of 14 people including the former Finance Minister, were accused of providing insider information to a private investor, were guilty of the sale of 60,000 state-owned apartments in 2004. However, they were charged with various offenses including breach of trust, bribery, fraud and forgery of documents.
The court ruled that Grasser and a middleman leaked information about a government auction of 60,000 apartments, which enabled a rival to put in a slightly higher winning the bid.
A consortium purchased the apartments for €961 million - three years later, they were valued at double that amount.
According to the court, the winning bidders paid one per cent of the purchase price, €9.6 million, to ex-Freedom Party of Austria General Secretary Walter Meischberger and lobbyist Peter Hochegger, according to BBC report.
Grasser became the youngest finance minister in Austria in 2000, at the age of 31, he, however, denied all the allegations and said he would appeal to the high court.