Ministry official taps EU funds to back wife’s clubs

A high-ranking official is suspected of channelling large sums into leisure associations run by his wife.In a reaction to reports in the Austrian press, a spokeswoman for People’s Party (ÖVP) Economy Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner said the embezzled European Union (EU) subsidies were “significantly lower than one million Euros”.The accused official has been suspended as prosecutors are looking into the case, she added.Newspapers claimed in today’s (Tues) edition that the man also used the EU payments for the economy ministry to support various associations managed by pals.It is the second time within weeks that the federal economy ministry has become entangled in a possible crime case.Judges in Korneuburg, Lower Austria, recently sentenced a former economy ministry chauffeur to five years in prison for robbing a bank in Niederschleinz last January. Investigators had no difficulties tracking down the man after the incident since he used his personal car to carry out the crime.