Benko’s connections – Kika/Leiner debacle: New focus on former chancellor


It is part of the nature of politics that great speeches are made when there is a great bankruptcy. Sometimes the (joint) responsibility is shifted back and forth. This can be seen, for example, in the example of Kika/Leiner, the traditional furniture chain that the department store juggler Benko only recently skipped to apparently spare itself the urgently needed renovation. Bankruptcy for Kika/Leiner will be opened next Tuesday.

The new SPÖ frontman Andreas Babler addressed the currently most explosive economic case in his first official speech as SPÖ chairman on Tuesday. “Even these employees are not petitioners,” Babler stressed.

“Who betrayed us?”
The ÖVP promptly counterattacked. On Wednesday, the ruling party sent the message on short message service Twitter: “VP General Stocker: Babler must urgently talk to his comrade and predecessor as SPÖ boss Gusenbauer about Kika/Leiner, the advisory board of Benko’s Signa holding and the supervisory board of different Signa-Firmen!” The posting (see below) was garnished with an old communist slogan: “One thing is clear as always: who betrayed us? The social democrats.”

This is remarkable for two reasons: on the one hand, it was Kurz who was involved as chancellor in Benko’s takeover of Kika/Leiner in June 2018 to allegedly “secure 5,000 jobs”. On the other hand, the close ties between Benko and the 36-year-old former chancellor should still exist. In any case, the “Krone” advises the ÖVP to ask in the new Kurz office on Vienna’s Ringstrasse: How many times have Benko and Kurz been on a business trip in recent months? And is it true that Kurz did not always fly in the air, but was also allowed to take a seat in the Tyrolean’s luxurious Signa jet?

Incidentally, Alfred Gusenbauer holds important supervisory directorships at both Signa and Strabag as president. Strabag founder Hans Peter Haselsteiner is a major investor in Signa. The Raiffeisen banking group, which according to “Spiegel” would have lent the Signa group a total of about two billion euros, is considered Signa’s main lender in Austria. Media holding companies such as the Kurier also belong to the Raiffeisen empire.

Source: Krone


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