Fekter Criticized by Austria Auditors on Contracts, Falter Says

Austrian Finance Minister Maria Fekter’s spending on consultants and political allies when she led the Interior Ministry was criticized by the country’s audit court, Falter newspaper reported.

The court audited the Interior Ministry’s accounts during the period when it was led by Fekter, from 2008 to 2011, spokeswoman Doris Grabherr said today via phone. She declined to give further details because the findings are preliminary. Fekter’s press office at the Finance Ministry declined to comment and pointed to a statement by the Interior Ministry.

“All procurement transactions are carried out within the legal framework,” the Interior Ministry said in an OTS statement, adding that the draft copy of the report shouldn’t have been made public.

Fekter awarded contracts of 360,000 euros ($479,000) to coaches and communications advisers, Falter reported. Most of those awards went to a company linked to former Interior Minister Ernst Strasser, the newspaper said. Strasser, who went on to become a member of the European Parliament after leaving the ministry, was sentenced last week to four years in prison after being found guilty of corruption and influence peddling.

The draft audit report obtained by Falter called the 1 million euros spent on an Interior Ministry website “incomprehensible” and said that 40 percent of awarded contracts were missing data, according to the paper.

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