In his open letter to Alma Zadic, National Councilor Christian Hafenecker (FPÖ) writes that it is irresponsible to reward the ex-General Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, who is close to the ÖVP, with a reduced sentence or even immunity from punishment. What the ex-ÖBAG manager and ex-General Secretary did in front of the representatives of the House was an “unworthy demonstration of the democratic parliamentary control instrument of the committee of inquiry”.
And Hafenecker also emphasizes the “allegedly corrupt behavior as Secretary General” and warns: “In my view, it would therefore be serious damage to the reputation of the Republic and also not responsible to the righteous people if the judiciary now gave him leniency status reward, which could bring Mr. Schmid a reduced sentence or even impunity.”
In his letter to Zadic, Hafenecker then justifies the demand for Thomas Schmid to be denied leniency status as follows: “Such contempt for a democratic control body due to the absolute unwillingness to cooperate and clarify more than doubts the integrity of Thomas Schmid. The simplest and criminally irrelevant questions that were asked of him in the course of his questioning in the investigative committee and in which he could not have incriminated himself, for example about his party affiliation or the confirmation of his signature, remained unanswered for inexplicable reasons, but allow a conclusion to be drawn about his character and moral qualities.”
As reported by eXXpress, Thomas Schmid (47) constantly incriminates himself in his statements to the Economic and Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (WKStA) in order to somehow get into the leniency program: Schmid chatted about alleged salary promises from the property billionaire and Krone co-owner René Benko – the entrepreneur is said to have promised him an annual gross salary of 600,000 euros. The WKStA was currently unable to prove whether the settlement of two tax issues that were unpleasant for Benko was related.
In addition, Schmid confirmed before the judiciary that as Secretary General in the Ministry of Finance – and thus as the highest-ranking financial official – he was allowed to borrow the Porsche Panamera of multi-millionaire Ronny Pecik for trips near Trieste and also had Pecik’s tailor-made suits as gifts.
For Christian Hafenecker, the chairman of the FPÖ parliamentary group in the U-Committee, a leniency program for Thomas Schmid including a reduction in sentence would be “not responsible to the righteous people”: The accused would have undermined the trust of Austrians in politics with his actions.
The eXXpress will currently report on the answer of the Minister of Justice.