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AFP
May 28, 2020

Austrian police seek woman in ‘Ibiza-gate’ scandal

World

AFP
May 28, 2020

VIENNA: Austrian police released Wednesday images of a woman they wish to speak to in connection with a corruption scandal which brought down the right-wing coalition government last May. The so-called “Ibiza-gate” scandal exploded in May 2019 when a video emerged of the then leader of the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) Heinz-Christian Strache and several other people, filmed in a villa on the Spanish island of Ibiza. In the video, Strache appeared to offer public contracts in return for campaign help from a woman who posed as the niece of a Russian oligarch. Police have now released still images from the video of the blue-eyed, light-haired woman in question, along with a statement saying she used the alias Alyona Makarov. In the video she purported to be the niece of Russian oligarch Igor Makarov — who has told Russian media that he has no nieces. The police statement says officers wish to find her in order to gain “more detailed information about the circumstances behind the production and creation of the ´Ibiza-video´”. Investigators are currently looking into possible offences in the creation of the tape and also whether any of the statements in the video itself are punishable by law. The head of the team investigating the case Dieter Csefan said on Wednesday that police had obtained material used in the elaborate sting operation in the villa, including a fake light switch used to conceal a camera. When the scandal broke some FPOe politicians suggested the video could have been part of a plot by a foreign intelligence agency but Csefan said: “According to the current state of investigations, we can rule out any foreign funding or the involvement of an intelligence agency.