by Björn Schöpe
translated by Katja Protsiva
March 1, 2018 – October 2014, the judgement in the first instance in the bribery scandal of Oesterreichische Banknoten- und Sicherheitsdruckerei (OeBS, i.e. Austrian Banknote and Security Printing Agency) had been delivered. Nine former representatives of OeBS, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB, i.e. Austrian National Bank) and Austrian Mint had been charged with having paid the central banks in Syria and Azerbaijan bribes for years, so as to ensure orders for OeBS.
Since several defendants had appealed the sentence, the Supreme Court ordered a retrial in the second instance. 19 February 2018, judge Christian Noe passed sentences in the Regional Court for Criminal Matters in Vienna, that were partly much more lenient.
Among others, the former chairman of the board of OeBS and former deputy governor of OeNB Wolfgang Duchatczek, former CEOs of OeBS Michael Wolf and Johannes Miller, and former CEO of Austrian Mint Kurt Meyer had been charged.
Only Wolfgang Duchatczek had been aquitted. This decision was confirmed in the second instance.
Johannes Miller, Michael Wolf and a sales director had been given probation. Other defendants had been given longer terms of imprisonment.
The Regional Court for Criminal Matters Vienna delivered more lenient sentences in all cases. All defendants confessed the facts and were found not guilty of further misconduct. Also the long period of trial was taken into consideration regarding the sentence. For Michael Wolf and Johannes Miller it means: 18 months of imprisonment each instead of initially 24 months. The sentence for Kurt Meyer, the former CEO of Austrian Mint, had been initially 30 months of imprisonment and was reduced to 21 months in the second instance. Two sales representatives were now given 18 and 21 months. All five terms of imprisonment are on three years probation.
The two attorneys who managed the payment of the bribes, had been given particularly severe punishments. The court decided, that unlike the other defendants, they did not act in the interest of the companies but only in the interest of personal gain. Their trials were dismissed for now and there will be a retrial in May.
Here you can find our article on the first sentence and the preceding trial.
Oe24 reported on the new sentence (in German).