VIENNA (Reuters) – The top of Austrian state group OBAG, Thomas Schmid, resigned on Tuesday as prosecutors examine whether or not Chancellor Sebastian Kurz dedicated perjury by saying he was not concerned within the appointment of Schmid and OBAG’s supervisory board.
The textual content message exchanges between Kurz and Schmid, an official loyal to Kurz’s conservative occasion, have been a part of a parliamentary fee‘s investigation into doable corruption revealed within the so-called Ibiza video that introduced down Kurz’s coalition with the far-right. in 2019.
Within the texts, extensively circulated within the Austrian media, Kurz tells Schmid earlier than his appointment that he’ll get something you need” and Schmid expresses his thanks and “love” to Kurz. At finest, the exchanges are embarrassing; at worst, they might assist result in a felony conviction for Kurz that may threaten his job.
Kurz denies wrongdoing and says he hopes to be charged however not convicted. After intensive consultations throughout the supervisory board, the supervisory board, along with Mr. Schmid, concluded that the quick termination of Mr. Thomas Schmid’s put up represents a crucial step for OBAG,” mentioned Austrian Holding AG ( OBAG) in an announcement.
OBAG had mentioned in April that Schmid wouldn’t keep previous the expiration of his time period in March 2022. The corporate manages belongings that embody a 51% stake in utility Verbund, 31.5% in oil firm OMV and 52.9% in Austrian Put up. OBAG Director Christine Catasta, who oversees funding administration, will briefly take over as CEO.
Opposition events took benefit of the resignation to assault Kurz, whom they accuse of operating a nepotist appointment system. The Kurz system is bending much more,” Joerg Leichtfried of the Social Democrats mentioned in an announcement, including that Schmid’s departure was lengthy overdue, however that it was unclear why it occurred now. The duty for this tradition of vanity and overestimation of oneself rests with Chancellor Kurz, who entrusted Schmid to the place,” he added.