ÖVP-U-Committee: tax inspector on the Benko procedure

The last person to provide information on today’s information day in the ÖVP corruption investigation committee is a tax auditor from the large-scale audit. The official from the Ministry of Finance was dealing with the tax procedure of entrepreneur Rene Benko – which, according to the opposition, “surprisingly” migrated from Vienna to Innsbruck.

Matthew Jenewein

ORF.at/Roland Winkler

The former Secretary General in the Ministry of Finance, Thomas Schmid, had charged Benko with the Public Prosecutor’s Office for Economic Affairs and Corruption (WKStA). He tried to intervene in tax proceedings through him, Schmid. Among other things, it was about an additional payment in connection with Benko’s “golden quarters” in Vienna, also known as the “Tuchlaubenkomplex”.

In 2018, Benko’s company, Signa Holding, relocated its headquarters from Vienna to Innsbruck. It was there that the Tyrolean lawyer J. came into contact with the cause.

Call from Mueller

The informant, who works for the Austrian tax office in Innsbruck, was informed about the change in August by colleagues from Vienna. Then the jurisdiction was checked. That was in 2018 and it was about the 2008 assessment year. The matter would have expired at the end of 2018. Since 2012, the case has been examined by the large company audit.

On September 4, he sent questions “to Vienna” with doubts about the changes in responsibility. Just one day later, section head Eduard Müller (later finance minister) called him and asked if there were any problems with the change in responsibility. On September 10, he “informed the head of the section as agreed” that Innsbruck would be responsible.

Four days later, the final meeting took place, in which the procedure was completed. The finance called for a tax base of 36 million euros. When Vienna was still responsible, 50 million euros were demanded, NEOS faction leader Stephanie Krisper stated.

“Everything on track”

In the survey, J. said that it made no difference whether the exam was in Innsbruck or Vienna. It is a large company audit. SPÖ mandatar Kai Jan Krainer then submitted a chat that Schmid sent to Benko on the night of September 4th: “Everything on track.”

Leave a Comment