The public prosecutor in Munich has announced that the charges against the Sueddeutsche Zeitung journalists brought by former leader of the Freedom Party of Austria Heinz-Christian Strache over the “Ibiza video” have been dropped. The authorities have ruled that they did nothing punishable.
The politician, who had to step down as the deputy chancellor, started legal proceedings against numerous people involved in the production, distribution, and publication of the scandalous video, including three journalists and two managing editors at SZ as well as Spiegel journalists, at the end of May. He argued that they had made highly personal images public.
Prosecutors in Hamburg have previously also ruled that Spiegel’s publication of the material abided the law. As was announced at the end of August, there was "no sufficient suspicion" that Spiegel had committed an offence by publishing the video. As a spokeswoman later explained, the leaked materials were of "enormous historical-political significance with far-reaching effects, containing information which public necessity was hard to be underestimated".
The politician's lawyer filed a complaint against the decision, but was rejected.
Media investigations eventually revealed that the “Russian” woman in the video was a Bosnian national who was paid €7,000 to play the role. Strache described the affair as entrapment and a “political assassination”, with media reports later suggesting that the video’s creators had used alcohol and prohibited substances to “loosen his tongue”.