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Vienna Housing Trial: 15 months conditional for each of the main defendants

Vienna Housing Trial: 15 months conditional for each of the main defendants
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Image: www.fotokerschi.at | Kerschbaummayr

A 58-year-old company boss, who is said to have “greased” dozens of foremen at Wiener Wohnen from April 2011 to 2013, and two of the entrepreneur’s close employees were each suspended for 15 months.

The jury assumed that the donations were made for the dutiful performance of official business “to keep the foremen happy,” as the presiding judge Thomas Spreitzer stated in the reasons for the judgment. The three main defendants – in addition to the entrepreneur, who ran a glazing and painting workshop, a stonemasonry business and several construction companies during the incriminated period, his managing director and the head of accounting and human resources – were therefore found guilty of giving benefits within the meaning of §307a StGB. The judge described the 58-year-old’s denial of responsibility as both “unique” and “completely unbelievable.”

Conditional prison sentences for three foremen

Three foremen who had pleaded “not guilty” in the proceedings that had been ongoing since September were given between one and three months of probation for bribery. The different penalties were explained by the different extent of individual enrichment, which ranged between 50 and 830 euros. 40 foremen, who were also originally co-accused, were largely disposed of in a diversionary manner before the trial finale. “They have at least admitted that this incident happened and that they are sorry,” said the judge. Therefore, they were able to avoid being convicted. A few foremen were acquitted due to a lack of evidence – in the end this also applied to one of the company’s employees who could not be proven to have contributed to the fraudulent acts.

The judgments are not legally binding. The defense lawyers asked for time to think about it, but the public prosecutor initially made no statement.

The 58-year-old’s group of companies had carried out orders for Wiener Wohnen at the time. Work required in municipal building complexes was carried out in the form of “house lists” or “repair lists”. In order to continue to receive additional work orders, foremen are said to have been given fuel and shopping vouchers, and in rarer cases also material assets. In the reasons for the judgment, the judge spoke of “voucher management”. Three, and later five percent of sales were decisive for the amount of “sugars”.

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