It was the fourth day of the trial against former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) and his former cabinet chief Bernhard Bonelli for making false statements to the Fiji investigative committee. The former Austrian Chancellor also intervened and refuted the statements of WKStA senior public prosecutors Gregor Adamovic and Roland Koch. What they criticized first: Some chats were not presented. These messages would reveal that her relationship with her former employee Thomas Schmid was not as close as prosecutors had alleged.
“He’s very happy that there are more and more chats happening now,” Kurz said. And further: “If you look at the whole picture, it is indeed very clear that Thomas Schmid has been very close to me since the beginning of 2017 and with great frequency.” Schmid often praises himself and gives thanks “for everything and everyone, sometimes”. For very absurd things”. But: “There is not a single thank you, not a single heartfelt or kissy SMS where I allegedly promised him the OBAG post,” says the former chancellor, who once again finds himself exonerated. After all, multiple chats will paint a different picture. However, these were ignored by WKStA because they did not support the story.
Kurz presented a chat history in which he asked Schmid to organize a specific person as press spokesperson, while at the same time Schmid recommended that this person stay away from “Team-Kurz”. Its purpose was to make it clear that Schmid was pursuing his own interests and was not Kurz’s henchman.
Another witness, Arnold Schiffer, former CFO of the Austrian Federal Railways (OBG), reported his conversations with Schmid about filling the board and supervisory board of OBAG. Regarding the former chancellor’s role he said: He never interfered: “Kurz never contacted me.”
Schiffer reported that he and Schmid discussed changing the previous proportional representation model to better take the FPO into account. Schiffer emphasized that Kurz never interfered in the negotiations, while Schmidt had regular contact with him. Their relationship was more business-oriented, depending on the outcome of negotiations for the OVP.
He and Schmid also discussed a two-to-one third version (two-thirds turquoise, one-third blue). A list has been made for this. He also discussed it with the then Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strauch (FPÖ). Ultimately, there were many lists and ideas that were constantly changing: “It’s just politics,” the witness said. For this he received an encouraging clap from Kurz in the second row.
Thomas Schmid, who was the first witness to be called, will now testify on December 11, followed by statements from two former finance ministers. Gernot Blumel is scheduled to testify on December 15, while Hartwig Logger will testify three days later.