Petra Steger, member of the FPÖ National Council, cannot resist the malice. “Ex-ÖVP Chancellor Sebastian Kurz just missed the race for the most corrupt person of the year!”, She writes on Facebook. “Nevertheless, he is in the top 5 together with the rulers of Belarus, Afghanistan, Syria and Turkey. The ÖVP has come a long way… 🤦🏻♂️”. Steger is referring to a new report by the “Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project” (project to record and publish organized crime and corruption, OCCRP for short), which Kurz named one of the most corrupt politicians of 2021.
The OCCRP is an exposure platform backed by a network of journalist organizations from different countries. Quote from the homepage: “By building and equipping a global network of investigative journalists and publishing their stories, OCCRP exposes crimes and corruption so that the public can hold those in power accountable.”
The multiple award-winning investigative journalist Bastian Obermayer is also delighted with the OCCRP ranking. In 2019, Obermayer helped trigger the “Ibiza” scandal with his reporting and is also co-author of the book “The Ibiza Affair – Inside Views of a Scandal”. The Pulitzer Prize winner is now happy to share the OCCRP tweet with reference to “Austria”:
What Obermayer and Steger may have missed: The jury of top-class investigative journalists from all over the world made a more than embarrassing research error. In the listing, she initially referred to Kurz as the party chairman of the FPÖ. He is even said to have been to Ibiza. Even more: with the FPÖ and the Ibiza scandal, the ranking was even justified. Literally it said on the homepage: “Briefly cited the Austrian FPÖ, whose members were caught in an undercover video in which a person who posed as a relative of a Russian businessman was promised government contracts in exchange for positive reporting.”
A screenshot from December 27, 2021:
As a so-called “Ibiza discoverer”, Bastian Obermayer should not have escaped the fact that Kurz was the ÖVP boss and – according to the current state of knowledge – by no means traveled to that ominous Ibiza meeting. If so, he might have to rewrite his book.
And Petra Steger apparently hides the reason for including Kurz in the ranks of the five most corrupt politicians. Because it is precisely Ibiza and Kurz’s FPÖ chairmanship that is the reason for this, can only be difficult for them.
The top-class jury has now corrected the mistake. Now you can read there: “Briefly was the head of the ruling ÖVP, which, along with nine other politicians and journalists, is accused of embezzlement and bribery.” Mind you: Unlike the former Green politician Christoph Chorherr, Kurz was not even charged. Only investigations are ongoing at the moment. There was something, presumption of innocence… ..!?
Nonetheless, the investigative network did not see any reason to change the ranking. First it was Ibiza, now it is the allegedly manipulated leg scraping polls that justify his ranking in the “illustrious” list, which also includes dictators who brutally suppressed any resistance against them, namely the Syrian dictator Bashar al- Assad, the Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In first place is Alexander Lukashenko, the President of Belarus.
By the way: It was the first time in ten years that the six-member jury made the decision unanimously.
The investigative network is otherwise primarily concerned with politicians, with whom the FPÖ otherwise maintains a good relationship. In 2014, for example, the Russian President Vladimir Putin received the “award”. Otherwise, the platform has often criticized the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban or the former Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.
For some FPÖers spicy: The jurors are otherwise active in various investigative journalism consortia that are financially supported by the Open Society Foundations of US investor George Soros. Soros is a controversial figure who has grown up around numerous questionable conspiracy theories.