Casinos Austria & Novomatic Embroiled in “Casino Affair” Scandal which led to the Austria Government resignation in May this year.
Austria is all set to decide on granting sweeping new powers for investigation of the casino scandal probe famously referred to as the “Casino’s Affair”.
A new parliamentary committee has been set up to tackle the escalating corruption scandal that has hit the political establishment of Vienna. Austrian lawmakers will soon decide if the committee investigating the “Casino’s Affair” needs to be given more teeth to smoothen the probe.
WKStA, the prosecutor for economic crimes and corruption in Austria, is currently examining 11 people for tracing their role in unlawful political funding, bribery, and a probable promise of making changes to the nation’s gambling law so it can benefit one of the nation’s largest companies.
The investigation in the “Casino’s Affair” is focussed on the association between the state-funded gambling company and its shareholders. The details of this relationship became public after Heinz-Christian Strache, the Freedom party leader, was secretly videotaped soliciting money from Russia. This led to triggering the downfall of the government in May earlier this year. Mr Strache, who was holding the chair of the vice-chancellor then, had assisted in the installation of a crucial ally, Peter Sidlo, in the position of the new chief financial officer at Casino Austria, despite him having no previous executive-level experience.
“Casino’s Affair” investigation is also centred around determining whether there was some hidden motive behind Mr Sidlo’s appointment. Specifically, was the former coalition government considering ending the monopoly of Casinos Austria in the online gambling space? Such a move could have meant hundreds of millions of dollars of value to Novomatic.
Novomatic is an Austrian gambling firm which is also a partner in Casino Austria along with the Czech Sazka Group and the Austrian government.
In the same time Novomatic has always held strong ties with both the traditional ruling political parties of Austria, the Social Democrats and the People’s party.
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