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Corruption sentence overturned for Austrian MEP

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(VIENNA) - Austria's Supreme Court overturned on Tuesday a four-year jail sentence for corruption against the European lawmaker Ernst Strasser, who was filmed in 2010 offering to change EU legislation for money.

The court ruled on appeal that the case should be retried, citing a procedural error.

It was not known when a new trial might take place.

Strasser, Austria's interior minister from 2000 to 2004, was sentenced in January to four years in prison after he was recorded by undercover British reporters saying he charged clients 100,000 euros ($134,000) per year to lobby in their favour.

The secret video footage caused a splash and led to Strasser's resignation as MEP for the conservative People's Party in 2011.

The sting operation aimed at exposing corruption in Brussels ensnared three other MEPs: Romania's Adrian Severin, Slovenia's Zoran Thaler and Pablo Zalba from Spain.

Under Tuesday's ruling, Strasser's case will now be sent back to a first-instance court.

Strasser has repeatedly rejected the accusations against him. He argued previously that he believed the British journalists, who were posing as employees of a fake firm, were secret agents and met with them in order to expose them.


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