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Austrian Vice-Chancellor Denies Receiving Any Assistance From Alleged Russian

© AP Photo / Ronald ZakHeinz-Christian Strache head of Austria's Freedom Party (File)
Heinz-Christian Strache head of Austria's Freedom Party (File) - Sputnik International
VIENNA (Sputnik) - Outgoing Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Chairman of the Freedom Party of Austria (FPO) Heinz-Christian Strache said on Saturday that he had not received any financial assistance from a purported Russian woman, who was featured in a video that caused massive political scandal in Austria.

"I have met this woman once, during a private dinner during my vacation. I have not had any contacts with her after that, I have not seen her. The [FPO] party has not received any aid from the mentioned persons," Strache told reporters.

READ MORE: Austrian Vice-Chancellor Resigns as Video Scandal Shakes Ruling Coalition

The politician called the media reports about him an "intentional political assassination."

Strache added that he was drunk during the meeting with the woman, which was misused by his political rivals.

"That was silly, responsiveness, that was a mistake," Strache added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and President of Austria Alexander Van der Bellen, second left, during the official meeting held at Hofburg palace in Vienna - Sputnik International
Russian President Putin Meets Austrian Counterpart Van der Bellen (VIDEO)
Earlier in the day, local media reported that Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz wanted to stop the coalition with the FPO and call early election over the scandal. Later, Strache announced his resignation after the talks with Kurz.

Der Spiegel and Suddeutsche Zeitung reported on Friday, citing the video recording that they obtained, that in 2017, Strache discussed the possibility of an acquisition of the Kronen Zeitung newspaper by an alleged niece of a Russian oligarch in order to secure help at the legislative election. The outlets claimed that million-euro deals were discussed at the meetings, including access to government contracts.

The Welt newspaper reported that the conversation, parts of which were leaked to media, had lasted for six hours, adding that the whole situation was likely to be a "trap" for Strache. Der Spiegel shares this point of view saying that the house, where the meeting took place, was equipped with several hidden cameras. It remains unknown, who stands behind this "trap" for Strache.

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