"Profile": accusations in the scandal surrounding the "multiverse" Schwechat

Eleven people have to go to court because of sports funding for the hall complex - including ex-SPÖ national councilor Hannes Fazekas and ex-table tennis world champion Werner Schlager.

Vienna (OTS) - As the news magazine “profil” reports in its current issue, there are two indictments in the scandal surrounding the “Multiversum” hall complex in Schwechat near Vienna.

The business and corruption prosecutor accuses eleven people of attempting serious fraud or breach of trust worth millions. The accused include the former SPÖ member of the National Council and Schwechater mayor Hannes Fazekas, ex-table tennis world champion Werner Schlager and five employees of the sports ministry who were responsible for the allocation and control of federal sports funding under the then Minister Norbert Darabos (SPÖ). According to suspicions, in 2010 and 2012 a total of up to 7,8 million euros in sports funding in connection with the “multiverse” were wrongly pledged. Of this, 2,9 million euros were actually paid out. All those affected deny all allegations. The indictment is already effective. The republic is demanding the money back from the operating company as part of a civil lawsuit.

The “Multiversum”, which originally housed a multi-purpose hall as well as a table tennis hall for an academy project by Werner Schlager, was a political dream project from the SPÖ stronghold of Schwechat, right up to the federal government. The investigation reveals a number of political interventions.

Fazekas testified that the former SPÖ Federal Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer had originally promised a grant of eight million euros. Accordingly, the city later quickly requested from the Ministry of Sports under Darabos a first funding contract for 2,8 million euros and a written commitment for the further funds. A high-ranking employee of the municipality wrote to the ministry: "I would have expected at least a reaction to my emails, as is actually usual among partners (SPÖ minister - SPÖ national councilor and mayor)." In fact, Darabos then sent a letter of intent for another Funding over five million euros. However, the WKStA did not consider this as a directive. The investigation against Darabos was closed in early 2020. The accused officials are accused of having implemented the “political endorsement of the Federal Minister” in “hasty obedience”, although the legal requirements were not met.

A second indictment comes from the Korneuburg public prosecutor's office and is directed against four people. It is about alleged Malversations around the "multiverse" apart from the sponsorship of sports. This indictment is not yet legally effective, there is at least one objection. Should it become legally effective, the two charges could be merged and tried in Vienna. A hearing in Vienna is not yet foreseeable due to the current Corona situation and the high number of accused.

The Korneuburg public prosecutor's office has not yet completed all of its investigations into the “multiverse”. So it is possible that there will be more charges.

In 2018, the WKStA also took steps to investigate the then responsible Lower Austrian Provincial Councilor Petra Bohuslav (ÖVP). The now commercial manager of the Vienna State Opera announced in response to a profile request that the procedure had not yet been completed. Lower Austria granted funding of 2,8 million euros in connection with the Werner Schlager Academy. "The project was examined extensively, the funding from the state of Lower Austria for the Werner Schlager Academy complies with the guidelines of the Lower Austrian Sports Act," says Bohuslav. "Accordingly, I am convinced that this procedure will also clearly confirm this." You have nothing to reproach yourself for. Upon request, the state of Lower Austria announced that it would be examining whether the community would reclaim the subsidies that had been paid out.

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"Profile" editorial team, email: online@profil.at