Tanner: "Decision Not Understandable, But Must Be Accepted”
(Source: Austrian Ministry of Defence; issued Nov. 12, 2020)
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
VIENNA --- “I cannot understand the decision, but in a constitutional state this is to be accepted. It is clear that this will keep a lot in the dark and that possible criminal offenses will not be solved.

“I have instructed the Financial Procuratorate to analyze any remaining legal means,” Defense Minister Tanner said in an initial reaction to the decision of the Higher Regional Court.

Minister Tanner continued: "With our currently ongoing helicopter procurement, which we carry out on a government-to-government basis, we are definitely showing how such procurement can be carried out cleanly, transparently and properly."

(ends)




Eurofighter Procedure Cost the Ministry Seven Million Euros
(Source: OAT Austrian Television; posted Nov. 14, 2020)
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
VIENNA --- The Austrian defense ministry incurred costs of seven million euros for the discontinued Eurofighter legal proceedings. Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner (ÖVP) announced yesterday to Parliament’s budget committee, according to parliamentary reports.

After the decision of the Vienna Higher Regional Court to discontinue the proceedings, further legal steps are now being examined, Tanner confirmed.

SPÖ does not see airspace surveillance guaranteed

Meanwhile, the SPÖ warned that active airspace surveillance would no longer be guaranteed from next year. According to Tanner's plans, the cost-intensive Eurofighters would take over the sole control of Austria's airspace from next year.

According to SPÖ defense spokesman Robert Laimer, the budget discussions yesterday in the committee showed that this will result in additional expenditure that the armed forces could not cover.

Eight million more must be budgeted to finance 1,500 Eurofighter flight hours alone, as the Eurofighter flight hour costs ten times as much as a Saab 105, whose fleet will be discontinued next year and which will not be replaced.

“With these hours you cannot guarantee round-the-clock surveillance of the airspace.” For the SPÖ defense spokesman, Tanner is thus becoming more dependent on Airbus. With her statement “Airbus will get to know me”, the minister has now “clipped her own wings”, said Laimer.

Still numerous investigations

The attempt by the Republic of Austria to get rid of the unpopular Eurofighters by legal means has failed, but apart from the suspended fraud proceedings against Airbus, the investigations of the Economic and Corruption Public Prosecutor's Office (WKStA) continue. It is about infidelity, money laundering and bribery in the procurement and counter-trade of the jets.

As the WKStA announced in a press release, numerous suspects and witnesses have been questioned since the Vienna public prosecutor took over the case in February 2019. 60 suspects are being probed by an investigation team made up of four public prosecutors and an economic expert.

How much longer this will continue is an open question. Accounts were opened, 15 new requests for mutual legal assistance were made, European investigative orders were issued and the special commission set up at the Federal Criminal Police Office was employed.

Since then, this alone has generated 35 reports submitted to the WKStA.

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