Austrian Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, 49, a key figure of the European far-right, resigned Saturday.
This occurred after media proved that Strache promised public contracts in return for campaign help from a fake Russian backer. Videos from a hidden camera were used. The video appeared to show Mr Strache discussing government contracts with an alleged Russian investor in return for campaign support. Strache insisted he was the "victim of a targeted political attack" which had used illegal means. In the recordings Strache and his party's group leader in parliament Johann Gudenus are seen discussing with a woman purporting to be the niece of a Russian oligarch how she can invest in Austria.
Strache also appeared to hint at possible ways political donations could be made to a foundation linked to the FPOe and not to the party directly, apparently in order to escape legal scrutiny. Resigning, Mr Strache said that transport minister Norbert Hofer will replace him. He affirmed that his actions had been "stupid" and "irresponsible" and he was leaving to avoid further damage to the government. "As an individual I must not be the reason for stopping that and perhaps providing a pretext to break this government,” he said.