Detectives make arrests

The mastermind behind the Ibiza video arrested in Berlin

Vienna - The mastermind behind the Ibiza video, the private detective J. H., has been arrested. A lawyer from H. and the Vienna Public Prosecutor's Office confirmed this to STANDARD on Friday. The spokeswoman for the public prosecutor's office could not say for which offenses H. was arrested, it was an act of closure.

In response to a request from STANDARD, the Berlin Public Prosecutor's Office confirmed that on Thursday morning an Austrian citizen was arrested in the Berlin district of Prenzlauer Berg on the basis of a European arrest warrant in connection with the Ibiza case. The background is a request for legal assistance from Austria.

H., who appears in the Ibiza video as a companion of the alleged Russian oligarch's niece, has "lived in Berlin most of the time" since the video was published last year, as his lawyer affirmed. "There has also been a number of contacts with the authorities in Germany." For the time being, the lawyer could not say why the access took place on Thursday.

Extradition requested

According to "Presse", the decisive tip came from the Romanian police. H. was or was interrogated in Berlin and is to be extradited to Vienna. A handover to the Austrian authorities has already been requested, says a spokeswoman for the public prosecutor's office. How quickly a transfer to Austria can be carried out also depends on the cooperation of the person concerned.

The former FPÖ boss and involuntary "main actor" in the Ibiza video, Heinz-Christian Strache, only briefly commented on the arrest. "I am happy about the arrest after such a long time and hope for a quick and complete clarification and also for the uncovering of the other accomplices, clients and backers", it said on Friday in a statement to the APA.

Illegal recordings and cocaine trafficking

The private detective H. went into hiding after the video became known. He is charged with the illegal production of sound and film recordings and the trade in almost three kilos of cocaine. H., who was searched for more than a year, is said to have set the trap in Ibiza in 2017.

On October 23, H. was connected as a witness via video conference in a trial against a former security advisor for crime and fraud in the Krems jury court room. According to the presiding judge, he was reached through his German lawyer. H.'s lawyer Johnny Eisenberg has his office in Berlin. Because of the Ibiza video, the then Vice Chancellor Strache had resigned. The affair also led to the breakup of the turquoise and blue government in May 2019.

Interior Minister Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) gave no further information about the cause at a press conference on Friday morning. The Soko Tape determined sustainably and was able to achieve this success. "I am glad that an important step has been taken." However, all further details are questions that concern the judiciary. (David Krutzler, Sebastian Fellner, December 11th, 2020)