Austrian media: Ruling center-right party's offices searched

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BERLIN (AP) — Austrian media reported Wednesday that investigators have searched the offices of the country's governing People's Party in connection with a bribery investigation. Prosecutors said that they are investigating Chancellor Sebastian Kurz among others.

The Austria Press Agency reported that the chancellery building was also searched, though it wasn't immediately clear whether this included Kurz's offices.

Two dailies, Presse and Kurier, reported that the probe was linked to suspicious payments for opinion polls published in another newspaper. Public broadcaster ORF reported that the polls, which benefited the center-right People's Party, were paid for by the finance ministry.

The prosecutors’ office that investigates corruption cases said that it is conducting an investigation into Kurz and nine other people as well as three organizations it didn’t name on suspicion of breach of trust and bribery, APA reported. It involves alleged actions between 2016 and at least 2018.

Senior People's Party officials claimed that media leaks in recent days about planned searches had been intended to hurt the party and Kurz.

The 35-year-old chancellor was put under investigation in May by anti-corruption authorities on suspicion of making false statements to a parliamentary commission, an allegation he has rejected.

Kurz became chancellor in late 2017 after previously serving as Austria’s foreign minister.

The Associated Press

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