Austria’s Strache affair and the undue influence toolkit

A week ago, German newspapers Süddeutsche Zeitung and Der Spiegel published evidence of the former Vice-Chancellor of Austria, Heinz-Christian Strache and a colleague apparently negotiating corrupt deals with the purported niece of a Russian oligarch close to President Vladimir Putin.

Both Strache and the colleague, Johann Gudenus, have resigned and their party, the right-wing populist FPÖ, has been kicked out of the Austrian governing coalition, triggering snap elections expected in September. The country’s chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, is facing a vote of no confidence.

Strache and Gudenus were caught on hidden cameras meeting with a woman and her associate on Ibiza in 2017. She claimed to be in the process of buying a controlling stake in Kronen Zeitung, Austria’s biggest-selling tabloid, and said she would use the paper to promote the FPÖ in elections in Austria later that year.

The woman was actually a decoy, and the meeting a hidden-camera operation, so no real deals were

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