Austrian ex-MEP Ernst Strasser jailed for bribe-taking

Ernst Strasser - file pic Mr Strasser's meeting with British undercover reporters in 2011 sparked the investigation

Related Stories

A former Austrian interior minister and Euro MP, Ernst Strasser, has been sentenced to four years in jail after being convicted of bribe-taking.

The conservative Austrian People's Party MP, was exposed by reporters from the UK's Sunday Times, who secretly filmed him while posing as lobbyists.

They showed him being offered a 100,000-euro (£81,000; $130,000) annual payment in exchange for influencing EU legislation in the European Parliament.

Strasser, 56, denied any wrongdoing.

He said he had resigned to protect his party.

He said he had guessed that the "lobbyists" were fake, but had played along with the ruse in order to find out what was actually motivating the pair, who dined with him before the Sunday Times expose in March 2011.

Presiding Judge Georg Olschak said he did not believe Strasser's defence that he thought the journalists were US secret agents whom the politician had wanted to expose.

"That is probably one of the most outlandish things I have heard in my 20-year career," said Judge Olschak.

"You won't find a single court in Austria to believe that argument."

The judge told Strasser few people had damaged Austria's reputation as much as he had.

Alexandra Maruna, for the prosecution, said Strasser had "massively harmed European politics" and deserved to be punished for abusing confidence in elected officials.

One of four MEPs caught up in a "cash-for-laws" scandal in 2011, he plans to appeal against the verdict.

Strasser served as Austrian interior minister from 2000 to 2004 and in the European Parliament from 2009 to 2011.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Europe stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Baby in boxStrange case

    The remarkable appeal of the Finnish baby boxes


  • WW1 gas mask being demonstratedTrench terror

    Did the soldiers of WW1 have an irrational fear of poison gas?


  • Mitt Romney, speaks at the podium as he concedes the presidency during Mitt Romney's campaign election night event at the Boston Convention 7 November 2012Aura of a loser?

    Mitt Romney looked presidential but could never pull it off


  • A woman holds up a feminist sign.PC virus

    Is liberal speech policing out of control?


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • ReadingBest books

    BBC Culture takes a look at ten books you should read in February

Programmes

  • A car being driven by Cruise Automation technologyClick Watch

    The tech which could allow any car with an automatic gearbox to become self-driving

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.