According to a report by Austrian National Radio and Television on the evening of December 4th local time, Karl-Heinz Glasser, the former Austrian Finance Minister, was sentenced to eight years in prison on trial for accepting bribes, forgerying evidence, misappropriation of public funds and other charges.
According to the report, the allegations relate to the 60,000 Austrian federal public housing privatization project in June 2004. Due to Glasser’s early disclosure of key information, a consortium won the bid for only 961 million euros – 1 million euros more than its competitors.
Walter Meschberg, the former deputy secretary-general of the Austrian Liberal Party, and Peter Hogger, also participated in the deal. The three collected a commission of 1% of the transaction price, that is, 9.6 million euros.
Meschberg and Hogger were also sentenced to seven years and six years in prison, respectively. In addition, Grassel also received 200,000 euros in bribes for the Linz Terminal Building project.
It is reported that the Vienna Criminal Court has been engaged in litigation for nearly three years, and as many as 15 defendants, one of whom has now passed away.
For its part, the Austrian government has claimed compensation for these personnel totaling nearly 10 million euros. However, this first-instance judgment is not final, and the Supreme Court will have the final decision. Grassel and his lawyer have now announced that they will appeal.
Glasser, 51 years old, served as the Minister of Finance of Austria from February 2000 to January 2007.