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Schmid and Kurz: A reunion in court

Schmid and Kurz: A reunion in court
Former Öbag boss Thomas Schmid
Image: APA/HANS PUNZ

Former companions became opponents: Today, former Öbag boss Thomas Schmid (48), who is testifying as a witness, and ex-Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (37), whom the public prosecutor has accused of making false statements, meet at the Vienna Criminal Regional Court.

Thomas Schmid’s political career began in the 2000s as a press spokesman (first for Karl-Heinz Grasser, then for Education Minister Elisabeth Gehrer and VP club boss Wolfgang Schüssel). What was crucial for Schmid’s career path in 2008 was his move to the cabinet of then Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger.

Schmid and many of his cabinet colleagues at Spindelegger – including Gernot Blümel and Alexander Schallenberg – would later have careers. Especially when Spindelegger, as the new VP boss, brought another young man onto the federal political stage in 2011: Sebastian Kurz, whom Spindelegger made integration state secretary. The ties between Spindelegger’s cabinet and Kurz were and remained close, even though Kurz was assigned to the Ministry of the Interior as State Secretary.

Rise to Öbag boss

Unlike Blümel, who became VP general secretary, Vienna VP boss and later finance minister under Chancellor Kurz, Schmid remained a man in the background. He rose to become head of Spindelegger’s cabinet, then general secretary in the Ministry of Finance. In 2018, Schmid was finally promoted to the board position of the state investment company Öbag.

And the current false statement trial is about what role the then Chancellor Sebastian Kurz played. Kurz asserted (in the U-Committee) and asserts (in court) that he was “informed” but not “involved” – the presumption of innocence applies to him as well as to his co-defendant Bernhard Bonelli.

The public prosecutor’s office, on the other hand, accuses both of having testified falsely in the Ibiza U committee when it came to Schmid’s job and the composition of the Öbag supervisory board. Today Schmid is to be questioned as a witness about what role the defendants played. Passages like “You get everything you want anyway” are known from chats between Kurz and Schmid.

The relationship between Kurz and the ÖVP on the one hand and Schmid on the other has been shattered for a long time – at the latest after Schmid gave a comprehensive statement to the public prosecutor’s office in 2022 in which he was not involved in the Öbag case, but also in the so-called polls -Affair in which the public prosecutor’s office is still investigating (also against Kurz) and has made incriminating statements.

Schmid, who himself is listed as a defendant in various proceedings, is hoping for star witness status. Since then, Schmid has been called a “liar” several times by Sebastian Kurz’s team and various VP politicians.

Prominent witnesses will also be present on the next days of the negotiations: on Friday, December 15th, ex-Finance Minister Gernot Blümel is invited, and on December 18th, ex-Finance Minister Hartwig Löger (both VP).

You can find a live blog from the process today from 9.30 a.m. on nachrichten.at

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Source: Nachrichten

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