Did Austrian far-right leader Jorg Haider take money from Saddam and Qaddafi?

Gideon Rachman blogs a story we missed a few weeks ago about new posthumous against Austrian far-right leader Jorg Haider, who was killed in a car crash in 2008:  The weekly, Falter, said it had obtained the diary of Walter Meischberger, a former member of Haider’s Freedom Party. Falter is publishing what it describes as ...

DIETER NAGL/AFP/Getty Images

Gideon Rachman blogs a story we missed a few weeks ago about new posthumous against Austrian far-right leader Jorg Haider, who was killed in a car crash in 2008: 

The weekly, Falter, said it had obtained the diary of Walter Meischberger, a former member of Haider's Freedom Party. Falter is publishing what it describes as excerpts of the diary that mention an alleged transfer of euro45 million by the Libyan leader in connection with an unnamed Haider confidant. According to Falter, the diary also claims that others from Freedom Party circles visiting Iraq returned home with millions of euros. It claims that further millions allegedly came from a Swiss account belonging to the Iraqi leader's family. Falter says Meischberger had secondhand knowledge of the alleged transfers.

Falter did not provide details about where it obtained the purported diary. A spokesman for the Vienna public prosecutor's office, Thomas Vecsey, confirmed that authorities had seized the diary but declined to comment on its author or contents, saying it was under investigation.

Gideon Rachman blogs a story we missed a few weeks ago about new posthumous against Austrian far-right leader Jorg Haider, who was killed in a car crash in 2008: 

The weekly, Falter, said it had obtained the diary of Walter Meischberger, a former member of Haider’s Freedom Party. Falter is publishing what it describes as excerpts of the diary that mention an alleged transfer of euro45 million by the Libyan leader in connection with an unnamed Haider confidant. According to Falter, the diary also claims that others from Freedom Party circles visiting Iraq returned home with millions of euros. It claims that further millions allegedly came from a Swiss account belonging to the Iraqi leader’s family. Falter says Meischberger had secondhand knowledge of the alleged transfers.

Falter did not provide details about where it obtained the purported diary. A spokesman for the Vienna public prosecutor’s office, Thomas Vecsey, confirmed that authorities had seized the diary but declined to comment on its author or contents, saying it was under investigation.

Since his death, we’ve been learning a lot of new things about Haider, who set the stage for a new wave of far-right European politicians who have found mainstream success in recent years but shocked the world by praising Nazi policies while he was governor of Carinthia — his relatively open but undiscussed homosexuality for instance.

Haider’s longtime friendship with Qaddafi is already well known, as is the fact that he met with Saddam Hussein on the eve of the Iraq war. But I would still have to imagine that it would be pretty embarrassing for the Freedom Party, which is currently calling for a ban on headscarves and minarets, to have received funding from two of the Islamic world’s most notorious dictators.  

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating

Tag: Europe

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