Austria probes ex-leader’s staff over shredding evidence

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Vienna (AFP) – Austrian prosecutors are probing a staffer of former chancellor Sebastian Kurz on suspicion of shredding evidence, possibly linked to the scandal that brought down the government in May, media reports and an official said over the weekend.

The probe could hurt Kurz and his conservative People’s Party (OeVP), which is so far tipped to come out strongest again in September elections despite the scandal that has since become known as “Ibiza-gate”.

Hidden camera recordings saw Kurz’s far-right vice-chancellor, Heinz-Christian Strache, resign, the coalition collapse and a caretaker government appointed.

The recordings filmed on the island of Ibiza in 2017 showed Strache appearing to offer public contracts in exchange for campaign help to a fake Russian backer.

In a new twist, prosecutors are now also investigating a staffer of Kurz’s team for shredding a hard disk on May 23, days after the scandal broke and just before a successful no-confidence vote against the chancellor’s government.