05:21 GMT +323 October 2019
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    Tal Silberstein, an adviser to Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern, sits at the Israeli Rishon Lezion Justice court, near Tel Aviv on August 14, 2017 after he was detained as part of an international money laundering investigation

    Israeli Strategist Silberstein May Be Behind FPO Scandal - Austrian Chancellor

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz expressed on Monday his suspicions that Tal Silberstein, who was an adviser for the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPO) during the election campaign in 2017, could be behind the scandal around former Austrian Vice-Chancellor and leader of the Freedom Party (FPO) Heinz-Christian Strache.

    "If we talk about methods, it reminds me a lot of Tal Silberstein, adviser to the SPO during the election campaign of 2017. He used similar methods around the world … I think it's possible that Silberstein is behind this … One thing is clear: even given the questionable methods, the content [of the video] and ideas of abuse of power remain a major scandal", Kurz told the Bild newspaper in an interview.

    READ MORE: Analyst REVEALS Who Could Benefit From Austrian Vice-Chancellor Video Scandal

    Silberstein is an Israeli political adviser and expert in building electoral strategy. According to media reports, he is known for his questionable methods. He has also worked with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Ukrainian politician Yulia Tymoshenko. During Austrian parliamentary elections of 2017, Silberstein was reportedly involved in a smear campaign against Kurz.

    On Friday, some of major German media reported, citing a video recording made during a July 2017 meeting in Ibiza, Spain, that an alleged niece of a Russian oligarch offered Strache to give FPO money and help them with press support, while Strache reportedly offered the woman government construction contracts in return. As a result of the scandal, Strache resigned as the vice-chancellor and the leader of FPO.

    Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz then called for snap parliamentary elections, refusing to maintain a government coalition with the FPO because of the scandal.

    Related:

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    Austrian President Calls Video With Former Vice-Chancellor Strache 'Shameful'
    Outgoing Austrian Vice-Chancellor Says Latvian Citizen Approached FPO Officials
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    scandal, Sebastian Kurz, Israel, Austria
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