Former Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has been charged with giving false testimony, Austria’s Economic and Corruption Prosecutor’s Office announced on Friday.
The prosecutors in Vienna allege that Kurz gave false evidence to a committee of the Austrian parliament that was investigating whether his government was open to bribes and corruption.
Specifically, the prosecutors say he gave false evidence when asked about executive appointment to the board of Austria’s sovereign wealth fund, the state holding company Öbag.
The prosecutors said in a statement that the crime carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison.
Kurz’s former aide Bernhard Bonelli and another person, whose name was not been released by the prosecutors, have also been charged in the case, according to the statement.
The 36-year-old former Austrian leader has denied the accusations. “The accusations are false and we look forward to the truth finally coming to light and the accusations proving to be unfounded in court,” he said on Friday on X, the social network previously known as Twitter.
Once seen as a wunderkind of European politics, Kurz became the youngest-ever chancellor of Austria and Europe’s youngest leader in 2017, when he led his center-right Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) to an election victory.
His government lost a vote of no-confidence in May 2019, following a corruption scandal prompted by a secretly filmed video of his vice-chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache. But they returned to power after winning a general election in September of the same year.
He resigned as chancellor in October 2021, weeks after his office was raided by prosecutors investigating him and close team members on suspicion of bribery and breach of trust. A few month later, he announced he was leaving politics.