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Swiss asset managers linked to Austrian corruption scandals

Swiss asset managers are involved in some of Austria’s biggest corruption scandals, according to the SonntagsZeitung newspaper.

The paper writes that in ongoing cases involving far-right politicians Jörg Haider, Karl-Heinz Grasser and Heinz-Christian Strache, the trail leads back to Zurich, Zug and Nidwalden in Switzerland. It sources this information to a whistleblower.

A task force in Austria is still investigating corruption allegations surrounding the purchase of expensive Eurofighter jets by the coalition government of Wolfgang Schüssel and Jorg Heider almost two decades ago. But with the investigation dragging, a whistleblower has now brought new information to two Austrian newspapers and the public prosecutor’s office, writes SonntagsZeitung.

This whistleblower links payment of a 1.5 million Euro ($1.6 million) cheque cited in the inquiry not only to the party of Haider, who died in 2008, but also to a Swiss trustee and his company in the central canton of Nidwalden.

A Swiss trustee is also accused of aiding and abetting bribery in the case of former Finance Minister Karl-Heinz Grasser, who is said to have collected bribes for the privatization of 60,000 federal apartments.

And a Swiss asset management company also appears in the investigations into the Heinz-Christian Strache “Ibiza affair”, says the paper.  Former Austrian Vice-Chancellor and far-right party head Strache resigned in May after German media published a video of him meeting in Ibiza with a woman purporting to be a Russian oligarch’s niece and apparently offering lucrative public contracts in exchange for political and financial support.