Grasser was in Asia, not Switzerland says FORMAT

By Rob Hyde

Although Grasser claims he received 500,000 Euros in cash from his mother-in-law in Switzerland, he had flown with AUA to the Far East at the time, says FORMAT magazine.

Its article says former finance minister Karl-Heinz Grasser was in Nepal and Peking in the same period he says he was in Switzerland.

Grassser has stated that his wife’s mother, Marina Giori-Lhota handed him a half-million Euros when he was in the country, which he then paid into a Swiss bank account.

The magazine, however,  claims that an investigation led by the state prosecution has documentary evidence from airlines, travel and credit card companies, which prove that Grasser was neither in Switzerland, Austria, nor Europe at the time, rather in the Far East.

FORMAT quotes a leaked court report from 24th January, which says there is increased suspicion “…that Karl-Heinz Grasser is the personal beneficiary of the money which was paid into the Ferint account at the Meinl Bank, and that it does not, as he claims, come from his mother-in-law.”

According to the document, Grasser’s mother-in-law denies being the beneficiary of this account, and even put this in writing to the tax authority in Innsbruck last year.

It alleges instead that the cash is a form of payment for Grasser’s alleged involvement in the BUWOG housing estate scandal.

The controversy surrounding the Bauen und Wohnen GmbH (BUWOG), links back to when the company’s 60,000 flats were privatised through former finance minister,
Karl-Keinz Grasser.

Whilst examining the insolvency of Constantia Privatbank (CPB) auditors noted irregular payments had been made to PR lobbyist Peter Hochegger and fellow lobbyist and former FPÖ politician, Walter Meischberger.

Both then made a voluntary disclosure to police of their involvement in the affair. Grasser, however, was then accused, by his former cabinet head, Heinrich Tramüller, of having used Hochegger to influence the BUWOG deal.

Hochegger was alleged to have supplied the former head of Immofinanz, Karl Petrikovics, with the price CA Immo was offering BUWOG as a rival bid.

Once Immofinanz then knew how much their competitors were bidding, they were then able to increase their offer, thus securing the deal at the last minute by offering 0.135 per cent more.

For his alleged assistance, lobbyist Hochegger supposed to have been paid 9.9 million Euros via Cypriot bank Astroppolis, of which he then allegedly gave 7.7 million Euros to Meischberger.

The amount was supposed to have been paid via the Omega company in Delaware, USA, to a shell company in Liechtenstein, and from there paid into 3 accounts (“Walter”, “Karin” and “Natalie”) with Hypo Invest Bank.

After this it was allegedly withdrawn then transported in cash to Vienna.