The accusation of the investigators of the Economic and Corruption Public Prosecutor’s Office (WKStA) is violent: In exchange for tax money, a media company could have delivered the “appropriate” headlines – and thus probably manipulated the public.
Numerous WhatsApp chats would substantiate this suspicion (as reported by eXXpress): The then General Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Thomas Schmid, spoke very openly about various assignments with the pollster Susanne Beinschab, an ex-employee of Sophie Karmasin.
The public prosecutor’s office has now reached the next step in its investigation, as a European investigation order that is available to eXXpress and eu-infothek.com shows: The Austrian corruption investigators are asking the German judiciary to cooperate in opening up Sabine Beinschab’s previously secret e-mail accounts and Sophie Karmasin at the gmx web portal. This company of 1 & 1 Mail und Media GmbH in Montabaur and Karlsruhe offers mailboxes whose addresses can also be used with false names.
The background for this step by the Austrian judiciary: In a chat on WhatsApp, Thomas Schmid instructs the pollster to contact him via “his private gmx address” – it is obviously about paying for surveys.
The prosecutors of the WKStA then summarize the entire case for their colleagues in Germany on 130 pages – and there they also shed light on the alleged role of Sophie Karmasin: The ex-minister is listed as a suspect on charges of bribery. Quotation from the dossier of justice: “MMag. Dr. Sophie Karmasin resigned as minister at the end of 2017 and founded Karamsin Research & Identity GmbH in June 2018. Practically when the new company started working, Karmasin worked again with Beinschab and has since presented as an analyst on the program “Fellner! Live “Research Affairs polls.”
On page 19 of the WKStA paper, the Austrians explain to their German colleagues the facts they assumed in the entire advertising scandal: “Thomas Schmid, Karmasin and Beinschab agreed that certain surveys relevant to the accused – again according to the content – with exclusively (party -) political content can be commissioned from Sabine Beinschab. The costs incurred for this should first be invoiced via the media group X., then by means of bogus invoices in studies commissioned by the individual company of Sabine Beinschab for the Ministry of Finance. “
The European investigation order then also includes: all relevant chats from Thomas Schmid and the other suspects. It will be interesting to see what the gmx e-mails will bring to light – after all, media and political insiders have been suspecting since the affair was discovered that other Austrian print publishing houses could have worked in a similar way.