The infidelity process involving two ex-top officials of the Austrian Animal Welfare Association (ÖTV) burst on Tuesday. The main suspect has not shown up. He had confirmation brought that he was not fit to stand trial – even if a court report attested the opposite.
So far, the police have not been able to locate the accused. The public prosecutor’s office is now considering having the pensioner taken into custody. The 74-year-old and his son are accused of bringing the animal protection association and a subsidiary around 660,000 euros. A new hearing date has not yet been set.
Only the accused son appeared at the trial on Tuesday. The judge responsible did not believe the confirmation that the father had brought to court. She alerted the police in Flachgau to have the 74-year-old man forced to appear. The man was not found at his home address. The judge was then able to reach the accused by telephone. However, he did not want to reveal his whereabouts.
Prosecutor considering arrest
Now the public prosecutor is considering whether to arrest the ex-ÖTV president and put him behind bars for a few days or even weeks until the next hearing. In any case, the co-accused son denies having treated himself to a commission of 80,000 euros from a donation from a food company, says his defense attorney Michael Hofer. Because the sum was “then paid by the management, not by himself. This means that this commission was also approved by the patron – from the beginning, long before my client started working there.” The prosecution sees it differently.
Savings books closed, high commission collected
The public prosecutor accuses the former top official and his son of a total of eight individual acts. The 74-year-old is said to have pocketed more than 260,000 euros in overpayments for his work as managing director and diverted 85,000 euros from club accounts for his lifestyle. According to the indictment, he dissolved seven savings accounts of the non-profit association and pocketed the money.
In addition, his apartment in Vienna and an underground parking space are said to have passed through the association. The 74-year-old prosecutor used two cars that were bequeathed to the animal protection organization privately. The second accused son allegedly treated himself to a “generous commission” from the donation. Both deny all allegations.