Lawyer admits involvement in video sting that brought down leader of Austria's far-right

Ramin Mirfakhrai​ steps forward as Heinz-Christian Strache launches criminal complaint

Peter Stubley
Saturday 25 May 2019 18:27 BST
Austria's ex-vice chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache announces investigation over Ibiza video

A lawyer has admitted he was involved in the “honey trap” video which brought down the Austrian vice-chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache.

In a press release from his lawyer, Ramin Mirfakhrai told the German newspaper Bild the sting was a “civil society-driven project in which investigative-journalistic approaches were taken”.

However he did not reveal who else took part in the operation which led to the collapse of the coalition government.

Mr Strache, who also stood down as leader of the far-right Freedom Party, has filed a criminal complaint against “three persons identified as possible accomplices”.

“It is now up to the investigating authorities to clarify everything else,” he said in a video statement on Friday, adding he was interested in “full disclosure”.

Mr Strache said he did not ”dispute the utterances revealed by the video clip” but said they do not reflect the “complete context” of the seven-hour meeting.

He also dismissed as “absurd” reports that some scenes show him “using drugs and in sexual acts”.

The honey trap video captured a 2017 meeting on the Spanish island of Ibiza between the former vice-chancellor, fellow Freedom Party member Johann Gudenus and a woman claiming to be the niece of a Russian oligarch.

Mr Strache is shown discussing the offering of government contracts in return for support for his political campaign.

He admitted he had been ”stupid” but claimed he was the victim of an illegal “political assassination” which had led the government into a “disastrous situation”.

“Whoever wanted to harm me could have published the video two years ago,” Mr Strache added.

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

Austria’s Der Standard newspaper reported the other two suspects involved in the video were a private investigator and the woman posing as “Alyona Makarova”.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, of the centre-right People’s Party, has called an early election.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in