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Court Sentences Austrian Ex-Finance Minister To Eight Years In Jail For Corruption

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A Vienna court on Friday sentenced a flamboyant, jet-setting former Austrian finance minister to eight years in prison in the country’s biggest corruption trial since World War II.

r was found guilty of abuse of power and involvement in kickbacks totaling 9.6 million euros ($11.7 million) over the sale of state-owned apartments.

During the trial, a co-defendant — who was also best man at Grasser’s wedding — admitted passing on insider information enabling a consortium to buy 60,000 government-owned flats for 961 million euros, one million euros more than a rival bidder.

Just three years later, the consortium valued the apartments at about double the price.

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Grasser, who as finance minister had decided to sell the flats and knew of the bids, and his co-defendants received kickbacks totalling 9.6 million euros.

“Only Grasser could have passed on information” to the winning consortium, judge Marion Hohenecker said.

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