A Vienna court has convicted former Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache of corruption for trying to change laws to favor a private hospital in exchange for donations to his political party.
Austrian public broadcaster ORF reported Friday that the ex-leader of the far-right Freedom Party received a 15-month suspended prison sentence for accepting two bribes totaling 12,000 euros ($14,100).
Strache, who served as vice chancellor from 2017 to 2019, had pleaded not guilty to the charges. He can appeal the verdict.
Strache was the central figure in the fall of a previous Austrian government, a coalition of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz s conservative Austrian People’s Party and the Freedom Party.
In May 2019, a video emerged showing Strache, the-Freedom Party’s leader at the time, offering favors to a purported Russian investor. The recording prompted Kurz to pull the plug on the national government. Strache, who denied any wrongdoing, was later kicked out of the Freedom Party.
Kurz returned to power last year in a new coalition with the environmentalist Greens.