:: Frederik Obermaier was part of a joint investigative team of Süddeutsche Zeitung and the German magazine Der Spiegel, which brought down Austria’s vice chancellor in May 2019. Heinz-Christian Strache resigned from his post less than 24 hours after the first report was published by Obermaier and his colleagues. The scandal prompted Chancellor Sebastian Kurz to call for snap elections.
The secretly filmed video showed the leader of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party FPÖ promising government contracts to a women claiming to be a millionaire and the niece of a Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin. The recordings were leaked to Frederik Obermaier and his colleague Bastian Obermayer.
In the tape Mr. Strache says among others: “We want to build a media landscape like Orbán did.” The Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban has tightened grip on press freedom. He has actually turned his country’s public news media into a pro-government propaganda machine.
Austria's President Alexander Van der Bellen praised the revelation of Süddeutsche Zeitung and Der Spiegel: "The Fourth Power has fully assumed its responsibility." The head of Germany's journalists' union DJU, Tina Groll, called it a "moment of glory for journalism".
"The Freedom Party and its ilk are not going away; what has become even clearer is that they must be kept as far as possible from the corridors of power." (New York Times)
"A video that looks like satire brings down a government in which a spin-doctor-led young chancellor believed he could get the right ruffians under control: That was the Austrian reality under the turquoise-blue coalition. The pain over it can be quenched only with facts. They are in this book." (Eva Menasse)
"The Ibiza-affair had many genres. What turned out to be a bizarre comedy in front of the camera was a high-grade thriller behind the scenes. But the supposed Waterloo of the Austrian Right also shows what quality journalism can still achieve today. And why it has become more indispensable than ever." (David Schalko)