VIENNA, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Austrian Finance Minister Gernot Bluemel, a close party ally of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, said on Thursday his home was searched by anti-corruption prosecutors treating him as a suspect in relation to possible party donations.
Prosecutors are investigating whether, under a previous coalition between Kurz’s conservatives and the far-right Freedom Party, a deal was struck between government officials and gambling firm Novomatic to appoint a board member at Casinos Austria in exchange for granting Novomatic gambling licences.
“We would never and never did accept donations from gambling firms, especially if in addition something were expected in exchange,” Bluemel said in a statement. He said no donation from Novomatic had been accepted. In a statement Novomatic also denied making donations to any party. (Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by Jon Boyle)
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