Politics

Novomatic boss on party donations: "We will have to do this!"

Internal e-mails from the gambling group show a similar attitude as the messages to Gernot Blümel.

Harald Neumann wanted an appointment with the ÖVP boss, so he sent a text message to Gernot Blümel. That much has been known for days. Also that the former Novomatic boss in 2017 linked two things in his SMS that, even when viewed benevolently, cast a strange light on him. Because with the phrase “needs a short appointment with Kurz (firstly because of a donation and secondly about a problem we have in Italy! “he made a connection between party donations and official business; and at least from the point of view of the judiciary, he provided a reason to investigate Blümel for corruption and to search his apartment.

APA / HERBERT NEUBAUER

Like the news magazine profilereports, Neumann has also campaigned within the group to ensure that the Novomatic parties support parties directly with donations. In the course of a debate about donations in Germany, Neumann wrote the following email to several Novomatic executives: “Dear all, the corporate policy was intended to prevent covert payments from being made to parties in any of our countries! I do not believe in completely preventing legally permitted and transparent payments to parties! We will have to do this in some countries and shouldn’t be limited by our guidelines! In other words, we are changing the guideline in such a way that these payments may only take place if they are made within the legal framework and transparently! A report (and not approval) to the Compliance Committee should remain. “

In summary: Neumann is sticking to party donations.

“Need to speak to you urgently!”

The stubbornness of the gambling manager is also documented in the chat history available to him, in which he repeatedly asked Duz friend Blümel for appointments and meetings between January 2018 and June 2019.

“Have a request: Prof. Graf (Novomatic founder, note) and I would like an appointment with SK (Sebastian Kurz?, Note) from mid-February! Subject of gambling in general, but also Casag, etc. Could you organize such an appointment? lg Harald “Blumel’s answer: “Please ask him directly and I will follow up! “ 

It is similar in February 2018 (“Hello, you have a bad situation at Casag (…). Should call you today or tomorrow “), in March (“should speak to you urgently! if you can do it personally! “) or in January 2019 (“When would you have time for a coffee, would have some topics that I would like to discuss “).

Blümel is evasive at times (“Office answers. Can take a while “) to negative (“Tel gladly, personally difficult at the moment “). Enthusiasm has only been documented once – on June 20, 2019 when Blümel Neumann wrote that he had time for a meeting. Neumann suggests the Novomatic Forum (“At least nobody is listening! Can order fish! “). Blumel’s answer: “Optimal! Wednesday 26th 1pm in the forum! I’m glad of!”

For the coalition partner of the ÖVP, the Greens, the cause is far from over. The resignation calls for the green club chairwoman Sigi Maurer come too early, as she says in an interview with the television station PULS 24. It must be clarified whether Blümel can carry out his office against the background of these allegations. However, if these “burden him intensely”, then it is “doubtful whether he can carry out the office without being influenced,” says Maurer. Now it is the turn of the public prosecutor’s office.

In any case, Maurer condemned the behavior of ex-Novomatic boss Harald Neumann. “What Neumann does is incredibly bold. He writes an SMS in which an intervention is linked to a donation”. It must be clarified what is behind it.

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