Raid at VIA over Skylink scandal

Lower Austrian prosecutors have raided offices at Vienna International Airport (VIA) today (Thurs).Korneuburg state prosecutor Friedrich Köhl said dozens of documents have been confiscated. “It will probably take several weeks to examine them,” he added.A spokesman for Flughafen Wien AG, the company managing VIA, claimed none of their offices were searched. He added it had to be seen whether the firm was an aggrieved party in the possible scam.Köhl said the searched offices belonged to a firm involved in the controversial Skylink project, adding that the flat of an employee was raided too.Flughafen Wien AG has been in the news for months over soaring costs of building a new terminal.Construction of the Skylink site was halted last June when magazines reported that costs could reach a whopping 900 million Euros instead of the initially announced 400 million Euros.The Federal Audit Office (RH) checked the books before building activities restarted in February. It is expected to present its findings later this year.Flughafen Wien AG pledged recently it would be able to lower cost and start business at “Skylink” in 2012.Business magazine Format revealed last month that an independent expert team discovered more than 3,000 failures in what has already been built of the new terminal at Austria’s biggest airport. The group found that some of the mistakes posed potentially life-threatening consequences for customers, according to the article.The provinces of Vienna and Lower Austria – where the airport is located – have each a 40 per cent share in Flughafen Wien AG. Newspapers have speculated high-profile politicians might be involved in possible mismanagement and embezzlement in connection with the Skylink scandal.Press claimed Flughafen Wien AG chief would be forced to resign soon. Kaufmann lashed out at his critics in March, explaining he had the “full support” of the board.Kaufmann announced recently Flughafen Wien AG planned to invest 721 million Euros over the next three and a half years.