A drug dealer allegedly offered a man 100,000 euros to plant a bomb in the car of former Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, according to a report.
The planned terror attack on the former populist Freedom Party (FPÖ) leader was set to take place while Mr Strache was still serving as vice chancellor, according to leaked court information reported by Austrian newspaper Kurier.
The alleged plotter was named as Bujar B., according to the newspaper which alleges the drug dealer had previously been arrested for illegal possession of a handgun and drug-related charges.
The person who Buljar B. spoke to about the assassination plot was actually an intelligence liaison, known in Austria as a ‘V-Mann’, with documents from the Vienna prosecutor’s office showing the suspect offering a sum of 100,000 euros to the liaison to plant a bomb in Strache’s car.
According to the liaison, the suspect is said to have had intimate knowledge of a number of details including where Strache and his family parked their cars.
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Thomas Vecsey of the public prosecutor’s office in Vienna confirmed other reports that Buljar B. had been released following a house search around the end of April or the start of May and was currently free.
Johann Pauer, the lawyer for Mr Strache, commented on the case saying: “My client did not learn until April 4th of an apparently commissioned assassination attempt. Upon request to the competent authorities, he was informed that this circumstance should not be taken seriously.”
“Therefore, he is all the more surprised now to gain knowledge of the existence of a preliminary investigation. Neither my client nor I have been aware of the investigation so far and therefore have no knowledge of the current situation,” he added.
The lawyer for Buljar B., meanwhile, rejected the allegations saying: “The allegations against my client are completely absurd and come out of thin air.” He added that his client had never had a problem with Strache.
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The case comes just over a month since Strache was forced to resign as vice chancellor and as leader of the FPÖ due to the Ibiza scandal in which he and former Vienna deputy mayor Johann Gudenus were secretly filmed in a villa in Ibiza in 2017.
The pair were recorded speaking to a woman they thought was the niece of a Russian oligarch about trading government contracts for election support after the woman expressed interest in buying Austria’s largest newspaper, Kronen Zeitung.
The identity of the woman turned out to be fake and the subsequent scandal brought down the populist-conservative coalition in May with Chancellor Sebastian Kurz receiving a vote of no confidence from the Austrian parliament, ending his brief term as chancellor.