The Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) is facing yet another financial scandal, as millions of euros have gone missing in a cryptocurrency debacle. The situation involves Axel Kassegger, a National Council member, who was tasked with reviving the damaged FPÖ Graz branch after a scandal involving vanished funds led to its collapse.
While Kassegger pledged to investigate the case thoroughly, doubts arose within the party due to his previous dismissive comments about such matters. Now, his associates are entangled in another financial controversy, raising concerns about the party’s future.
The Cryptocurrency Debacle
The current investigation focuses on a close relative of FPÖ politician Axel Kassegger and his former parliamentary assistant, who was also a Graz city council member for several years. The duo, along with two other individuals, founded a cryptocurrency start-up in Graz and established a fund with a matching name in the Caribbean. An astounding €3.7 million in investor funds vanished into thin air, resulting in a total loss. Despite ongoing investigations for over five years, the fate of these millions remains unknown, complicated by the difficulty of obtaining data from the Caribbean jurisdiction, according to the Graz prosecutor’s office.
Adding to the complexity of the situation is the close association of those involved with the Burschenschaft Germania, a fraternity known as a breeding ground for the FPÖ in Graz. The relative of Kassegger held a leading position within the fraternity until drug allegations came to light. Notably, Kassegger himself has been a member since the 1980s. The alleged connections with the Burschenschaft have led some within the party to question whether Kassegger is the right person to steer the FPÖ to a new direction.
Internal Doubts and Criticism
Critics, including former FPÖ member and current council member Schönbacher, express skepticism about Kassegger’s ability to lead the party’s revitalization. They point to a regular stream of new accusations against the party, which Kassegger seemingly ignores. Prior to this financial scandal, Kassegger had been involved in foreign policy matters, notably visiting Russia-annexed Crimea, and being associated with Russian propagandists in leaked emails. He has fought against reports suggesting he received money from Russia for National Council submissions.
The FPÖ finds itself embroiled in yet another financial controversy, this time involving missing millions in a cryptocurrency venture. The ongoing investigations and close ties to the Burschenschaft Germania raise concerns about the party’s ability to recover and move forward under Axel Kassegger‘s leadership. As the situation unfolds, the party faces internal doubts and external criticism, leaving its future direction uncertain.