16:50 GMT27 May 2020
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    VIENNA (Sputnik) - The Austrian Bar is verifying allegations that a Viennese lawyer might have been responsible for the country's recent video scandal that has resulted in the mass resignation of cabinet members, the association said.

    "The Bar is verifying these statements and is interested in the prompt closure of this case in the interests of the legal profession and the rule of law in Austria", the lawyers' association said, adding that it had already launched a special investigation in order to clarify all the facts of the incident.

    According to the bar, assessing lawyers' professional behavior was the responsibility of the disciplinary court. In case of grave non-compliance with professional obligations, the bar is authorized to strip any lawyer of their license.

    The statement comes after former Freedom Party (FPO) Deputy Chairman Johann Gudenus said on 22 May that a lawyer from Vienna and a mediator from Germany could be behind the video showing former Austrian Vice-Chancellor and FPO leader Heinz-Christian Strache allegedly making an illegal deal back in 2017. The video has caused a major political crisis in Austria and several cabinet reshuffles.

    READ MORE: Austria Prosecutors to Check Video of Vice-Chancellor with Alleged Russian Woman

    The video was made public a week before the elections to the European Parliament, which began on 23 May.

    Last week, media reported that back in 2017 Strache discussed with an alleged niece of a Russian oligarch a deal that would see her acquire the Kronen Zeitung newspaper and gaining access to several government projects in exchange for favorable media coverage for the politician ahead of the Austrian general election. As a result, Strache and all ministers from the FPO, except for Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl, resigned on Monday.

    Strache has described the video as an attempted political assassination.


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    investigation, scandal, video, Heinz-Christian Strache, Austria
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