Austria’s judiciary has a massive problem: The editor-in-chief of the Wiener Regional-Wochenblatt “Falter”, Florian Klenk, sent the confidential investigation reports from the Economic and Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (WKStA) on the explosive Thomas Schmid chats to the Salzburg plagiarism hunter Stefan Weber – via WhatsApp (!), not blackened, with all the telephone numbers of ex-Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, the finance minister, publishers and media entrepreneurs, with all real names of the media entrepreneurs and journalists of the “Kronen Zeitung” and the “Presse” also mentioned in these reports.
Intensive investigations are now underway by a commissioned detective agency and IT experts who are supposed to answer an important question: Were these secret parts of the files passed on to Florian Klenk by a lawyer of a suspect, or did these files come directly from the public prosecutor’s office or from a person responsible for the WKStA is working?
After all, there is a serious accusation against the “Falter” editor-in-chief and co-owner in the room: Did the file parts only come to Klenk because the investigative team could have expected a “suitable” report in which more incriminating than exonerating is spread – and with it this tendency is taken over by many other Austrian media from the “Falter” and from Klenk’s tweets?
If IT experts now confirm after evaluating the metadata on the justice files sent by Klenk that they could only have come from the WKStA, criminal investigations would be inevitable: the suspicion of abuse of office and incitement to abuse of office would not be eradicable.
Even more violent: If it has to be proven that the confidential files came directly from the judiciary, the suspects would have to put up with the accusation of actively helping to overthrow a democratically elected government and its chancellor.
And in general, Justice Minister Alma Zadic (Greens) should have the greatest interest in having these current allegations investigated in-house – the image of the Austrian judiciary must not suffer, especially in such turbulent times, the Austrians must continue to have confidence in this important institution of democracy can. An internal audit group of the ministry should now investigate the following questions:
How did Sarah B./Adamovich get her job as an economic expert, who is allowed to evaluate all of Thomas Schmid’s chats on behalf of the WKStA – and thus also plays a decisive role in which chats are included in the investigation file?
Does it comply with the applicable compliance rules of the Austrian judiciary that a chief investigator of the WKStA, Gregor Adamovich, has a civil partnership with an expert who is also registered at the same address in Lower Austria?
Isn’t there a serious conflict of interest that a neutrally working expert lives with the prosecutor who interrogated Sebastian Kurz for five hours on suspicion of false statements – and logically wants to collect incriminating evidence against the suspect?
Will the Ministry of Justice also have IT experts check the files that Florian Klenk has sent? And has it already been secured and has it been guaranteed that no evidence will disappear?
And will the Minister of Justice release the Chief Public Prosecutor from duty until all allegations have been checked – or may this WKStA investigator continue to question politicians?
In order to avoid possible damage to the judiciary, Alma Zadic should provide answers promptly.