Thanks to Unfuck U
On 17 May 2019 a video was released from a July 2017 meeting in Ibiza, Spain, appearing to show Strache and Johann Gudenus discussing underhanded political practices. In the video, both politicians appeared receptive to proposals by a mysterious woman posing as the niece of a Russian oligarch Igor Makarov, discussing providing the FPÖ positive news coverage in return for business contracts. Strache and Gudenus also hinted at corrupt political practices involving other wealthy donors to the FPÖ in Europe and elsewhere.
Strache was expelled from the FPÖ in December 2019 for his role in the scandal.
In August 2020, the public prosecutor’s office received an additional 5 minutes of video footage which appeared to relieve Strache from some of the accusations. In the uncut video, Strache had refused the decoy’s offer and doing anything illegal.
Strache accused Der Spiegel and the Süddeutsche Zeitung of showing selectively edited material.
Speculation and research
The highly professional setup of the apparent trap, the amount of time and money expended on preparing and realising it, made Germany’s Die Welt wonder who might have been behind this operation meant to create what the newspaper referred to as Kompromat (incriminating material to be used at the right moment to undermine one’s enemy), which had been held back for two years and made public days before the European Parliament election to be held in May 2019.
Austrian newspaper Wiener Zeitung linked Germany’s political activist group, Zentrum für Politische Schönheit, to the creation of the video, in view of its prior activity as well as the suspicious behaviour on Twitter, the group being the first to follow a new account that was the first to tweet about the initial publication of the video’s content.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz pointed out the similarities to methods used by Israeli election adviser Tal Silberstein who had been detained for questioning on money-laundering charges in Israel before the 2017 Austrian election. Silberstein was accused in Austria of having used methods of negative campaigning in support of the SPÖ in the 2017 election. However, Silberstein denied any involvement in the Ibiza video and accused Kurz of trying to distract from the scandal itself. Austrian writer and historian Doron Rabinovici criticized Kurz for “entirely irresponsibly” invoking antisemitic stereotypes.
German newspaper Bild speculated that Austrian lawyer Ramin Mirfakhrai, who was born in Tehran, and Julian H., an Austrian private investigator with a dummy address in Munich, were behind this operation. Later in May 2019 Ramin Mirfakhrai via his attorney Richard Soyer stated in a press release that he had commissioned the video.
Journalistic research by the Kronen Zeitung indicated that “attorney M.” had been looking for a potential buyer for two years, before finally selling the video for €600,000 in Krugerrand coins to an organisation based in Germany. According to the research, the role of the Russian oligarch’s niece was played by a Bosnian agricultural student, specially cast for the job.
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Heinz-Christian Strache (born 12 June 1969) is an Austrian politician and dental technician who served as Vice-Chancellor of Austria from 2017 to 2019 before resigning for treasonous behavior. He was also Minister of Civil Service and Sports from January 2018 to May 2019 and chairman of the Freedom Party (FPÖ) from April 2005 to May 2019. He previously served as a member of the National Council from October 2006 until December 2017 and as a member of the municipal council and state legislature of Vienna (2001–2006).
In May 2019, footage from 2017 was released showing Strache suggesting he could offer business contracts in exchange for political support from a woman posing as the niece of a Russian oligarch. The video also shows his ideas about turning the country’s largest-circulation tabloid, the Kronen Zeitung, into a mouthpiece of the FPÖ. On 18 May 2019, in the wake of the Ibiza affair, Strache announced his resignation as vice-chancellor of Austria, minister, and chairman of the Freedom Party.
On 1 October 2019, Strache announced that he was retiring from politics and suspending his membership in the Freedom Party. Despite his vow to retire from politics, Strache joined the then-regional Alliance for Austria (DAÖ) party in February 2020, and became its chairman on 14 May, and stated that the party would run in the 2020 elections for the Gemeinderat and Landtag of Vienna. The Oberpullendorf District branch of the FPÖ switched its affiliation to that of the DAÖ in April, and some other branches were considering similar moves, meaning the party was de facto operating on a national level thereafter.
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Heinz-Christian Strache (right) and Sebastian Kurz (left).
To sum up, the Austrian “right-wing” government was sabotaged by a Mossad-styled trap.