02:51 GMT24 September 2020
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    The now-infamous video of the ex-number two in the Austrian government, Heinz-Christian Strache, with a woman posing as a Russian tycoon’s niece was published earlier this year in Sueddeutsche Zeitung and Spiegel, leading the country’s government to collapse. He wanted to strike back at the journalist who leaked the video, but failed.

    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.

    Ibiza Bombshell

    The bombshell video, which was recorded secretly on Ibiza before the Austrian general election two years ago and published shortly before the European election in May 2019, featured Strache and a woman who was reported to be the “niece of a Russian oligarch” from Latvia. The footage showed Strache, who later became a vice-chancellor, allegedly discussing with the imposter the possibility of buying a media resource to publish favourable stories about the government. The scandal that ensued after the video’s release forced Strache to resign, along with the Austrian government, including coalition ally and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, following a no-confidence vote.

    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”.

    Related:

    Former Austrian Right-Wing Leader Bows Out Of Politics in a Blaze of Scandal
    Austria's Kurz Entrusted With Forming New Cabinet After Landslide Election Win
    Austria Scandal: Girl on Video With Strache is Actually… Bosnian - Report
    Tags:
    Austrian Freedom Party (FPO), Heinz-Christian Strache, legal case, Ibiza, Der Spiegel, Germany, Austria
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