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Austrian finance minister’s home searched in corruption probe

Corruption

dpa – Austrian Finance Minister Gernot Bluemel is under investigation as a suspect in a corruption case that involves a gambling company, prosecutors said on Thursday in Vienna.

The conservative minister confirmed that his home was searched but denied that his conservative People’s Party (OeVP) had received donations from Novomatic, a large Austrian firm that exports gaming technology and operates casinos.

Austria’s corruption prosecution office said it suspects that a gambling business manager made donations to a political party so that government officials would help his company in a foreign tax case.

“I will do everything to clear this up quickly, and to disprove the false allegations,” Bluemel said in a statement.

Harald Neumann, who stepped down as Novomatic chief executive last year, said through his lawyer that he had “never promised, offered or indicated a possible donation” to the OeVP in connection with this issue.

Opposition parties demanded the resignation of Bluemel, who is known as Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s right-hand man.

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“In any civilized country, the finance minister would step down,” social democratic parliamentarian Jan Krainer said.

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