Wednesday, 30. July 2014
21. 01. 10. - 16:00
By Thomas Hochwarter
People’s Party (ÖVP) Interior Minister Maria Fekter has warned that Austrian citizenship cannot be "bought" amid claims Carinthian Freedom Party (FPK) boss Uwe Scheuch promised easier citizenship proceedings in return for party donations.
The People’s Party minister said today (Thurs): "It is not possible to purchase Austrian citizenship."
Fekter explained "special links with Austria" had to be proven for someone to become an Austrian under a dual citizenship agreement.
"People who live here or are economically active here are evaluated differently than people who only make payments to an Austrian account but have no relation to Austria at all," she said in an interview with ORF’s Ö1 radio.
Asked whether she could imagine that "financial return services" as allegedly offered by FPK chief Scheuch were common practice, she said: "I strongly doubt that. Apart from that, I’m the last resort here."
Fekter admitted Austria was one of the countries which took part in "Citizenship by Investment" events in Japan and China, but said those interested were informed of the Austrian law and criteria that needed to be fulfilled.
The exact criteria for obtaining dual citizenship are not public, but Fekter claimed they were "very restrictive". Fekter added Russians investing in Austrian museums and galleries had great interest in Austrian citizenship. But she said all recent applications had been rejected.
Athletes and artists have occasionally become Austrian citizens after living and working in the country. Retired Croat-born football star Ivica Vastic – who played for the Austrian national team 50 times – and Russian opera diva Anna Netrebko are well-known examples of popular personalities being given Austrian citizenship.
Corruption prosecutors meanwhile said they were "of course" planning to look into the "Scheuch case", while magazine News and newspaper Kurier reported a Russian man allegedly negotiating an easy awarding of Austrian citizenship with the FPK chief had been interviewed by officials earlier this week.
Scheuch – who was last Saturday elected leader of the FPK which recently split from the Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) to cooperate with right-wing rivals the Freedom party (FPÖ) – pledged to cooperate with prosecutors after the controversial audiotape emerged last week.
Magazine News claims the tape holds a recording of the former FPÖ MP offering a Russian businessman easier proceedings in becoming an Austrian citizen if he invests five million Euros in a project in Carinthia and donates five to ten per cent of the sum to his party, which at the time was the BZÖ.
The Greens in Carinthia said early elections must now be held and the Carinthian Social Democrats (SPÖ) joined them in calling on Scheuch to step down.
But Scheuch said he could not remember whether the conversation had taken place and said it was likely that the audiotape was part of a campaign against him and the newly set up FPK.
Scheuch said he would "obviously" speak with a lot of people about investing in the southern province of Carinthia, but added the tape might have been manipulated.
Magazine News reported today that the person allegedly heard speaking to Scheuch on the tape had confirmed the authenticity of the tape. The weekly claimed the man identified as Austrian Kurt L. was being treated as a principal witness by corruption prosecutors.
The man said the conversation took place last year and was not taken out of context, News reports.
"The conversation was recorded to ensure the circumstances would not change for the worse for my client considering the possible realisation of the planned project," the man is quoted as saying.
But the deal eventually fell through, the weekly claims.
"I’ve got a clear conscience," Scheuch said.
His former party BZÖ dismissed rumours they were behind a plan to harm the FPK leader’s reputation.
» General News 2012-05-23
Austria’s longest-serving governor has been identified as the most capable one in the opinion of citizens.
» General News 2012-05-18
The Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) has finally dismissed the circulating rumours about teaming up with a billionaire businessman.
» General News 2012-05-17
The chances of the Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) to avoid dropping out of parliament are waning, according to a new poll.
» General News 2012-05-31
A renowned economist has warned from reintroducing the drachma in Greece.
» General News 2012-05-31
Austria has been criticised for its high public debts.
» General News 2012-05-31
People’s Party (ÖVP) Graz Mayor Siegfried Nagl has ended his faction’s partnership with the Greens.
» Business 2012-05-30
The number of pilots and stewardesses leaving Austrian Airlines (AUA) because of the upcoming pay cuts is on the rise.
» Business 2012-05-29
Dozens of pilots have left Austrian Airlines (AUA) in the past weeks, according to the loss-making carrier’s works committee.
» General News 2012-05-24
The government is intensifying its attempts to pass a transparency package in parliament.
Teen Dying Of Cancer Killed At Charity Event After Ride In Porsche Goes Wrong
The family of a sick boy who was offered a trip in a high-performance Porsche because he was dying of cancer is suing the charity after the Porsche he was travelling in crashed head-on into oncoming traffic.
Japanese Pervert Planned Natascha Kampusch Style Kidnap
A Japanese man inspired by Austrian pervert Wolfgang Priklopil kidnapped a 10-year-old girl and kept her in a purpose-built cellar where he planned to train her to become the perfect wife.
German Hiker Yodels For Help After Getting Trapped In Cattle Grid
A portly hiker dressed in traditional Lederhosen was rescued after he yodeled for help after getting stuck for three hours in a cattle grid.
Austrian Wine Grower Sets New Record For Maturing Grapes
An award-winning Austrian winegrower is believed to have set a new record after leaving harvested grapes for an incredible nine months before fermenting them to create an ultra-sweet white and red wine.
Austrian Castle Owner Shocked By Airplane Wheel In Duck Pond
An Austrian castle owner got a shock after discovering this massive aircraft wheel had landed in his duck pond.
Glock Receives Austrian Award At Birthday Party
Austrian gun maker Gaston Glock has celebrated his 85th birthday with a huge ceremony in which the charitable work of himself and his wife Kathrin was honoured with a top Austrian award, and confirmation that this year two streets and a business park are to be named after him.
Sausage Surprise As Giant Wurst Is Pinched
Austrian police are hunting crooks who broke open a market stall and stole a 1.5 metre sausage worth over 2,000 EUR in the picture postcard village of St Michael in the region of Lungau.
Multi Coloured UFOs In Formation Over Austria
Austrian officials say they are baffled to explain a UFO sighting in which dozens of people reported seeing between 50 and 100 objects flying in formation.
Priests Furious After Porn Films Shot In Local Parish Church
A furious Austrian Catholic priest has complained to police after discovering a local woman had apparently been using his church as a studio to make porn films.
Two metre snake sends woman motorist fleeing
An Austrian motorist got a shock after noticing something hanging down from under her car – and realising it was a huge two metre snake that had ended up curled around the engine.
The most popular stories –
last 7 days
|Priest Claims Hate Texts Are From Demon Spirit|
|Teen Dying Of Cancer Killed At Charity Event After Ride In Porsche Goes Wrong|
|German Hiker Yodels For Help After Getting Trapped In Cattle Grid|
|Ice Tea Worth 20K Stolen And Emptied So Bottles Can Be Sold For 11 GBP|
|Japanese Pervert Planned Natascha Kampusch Style Kidnap|
Why suffer in silence. Let off steam by letting our readers share your troubles. File your complaints about anything and everything here.
Our ombudsman David Rogers will try and help solve some of the problems from lazy civil servants through to incompetent companies – and at the very least the worst transgressors will end up in our weekly special report.