NOVOMATIC file grows and the home of Austrian Finance Minister Gernot Blümel, searched by anti-corruption prosecutors.

Austrian Finance Minister Gernot Blümel, a close ally of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, said on Thursday that his home had been searched by anti-corruption prosecutors who treated him as a suspect in connection with possible donations to a political party, Agerpres was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Prosecutors are checking whether the previous coalition of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) and the Freedom Party (FPÖ) has reached an agreement between government officials and Novomatic, which specializes in providing casino gambling machines, to name a member of the management of Casinos Austria in exchange for licensing Novomatic.

Blümel issued a statement that did not specify exactly what he was suspected of, but said that the charges against him had been brought to his attention. The statement added that the People’s Party has never accepted donations from gambling companies in general and from the producer Novomatic in particular.

Novomatic, in turn, denied making donations to any political party.

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In the ÖVP-FPÖ coalition government, Gernot Blümel served as minister in the chancellor’s office, dealing with negotiation policy and relations with other parties in the governing coalition.

The investigation into the NOVOMATIC file was launched after the publication of a video from Ibiza, which led to the fall of the Austrian governing coalition in 2019. The images show the then leader of the FPÖ, Heinz-Christian Strache, who states ‘Novomatic pays everyone’ .
Following the publication of the registration, Strache resigned as vice chancellor of Austria, and soon the governing coalition fell apart.

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