Chief Correspondent, Vienna, Vienna
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Jan 14, 2013

Strasser jailed for bribery in European parliament sting

VIENNA, Jan 14 (Reuters) – Former Austrian Interior Minister
and European lawmaker Ernst Strasser was sentenced to four years
in jail for bribery on Monday in a case that prosecutors said
undermined trust in European and Austrian institutions.

Strasser had faced up to 10 years in prison after being
caught on camera offering to propose amendments to European
legislation in exchange for 100,000 euros ($133,500) a year.

Jan 8, 2013

Telekom Austria says revenue, margins under pressure

VIENNA, Jan 8 (Reuters) – Telekom Austria warned
on Tuesday of a further fall in revenue this year, saying tough
market conditions would continue to weigh on margins as industry
consolidation in its cut-throat home market fails to end a price

The group – in which Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim built a
26 percent stake last year – put expected revenues at around 4.1
billion euros ($5.37 billion), down from the 4.2 billion it has
forecast for 2012, but reiterated it expected to pay a reduced
dividend of 0.05 euros per share for 2012 and 2013.

Dec 14, 2012

Austrian banks need up to $17 bln for Basel III

VIENNA, Dec 14 (Reuters) – Austrian banks need up to 13
billion euros ($17 billion) extra capital to meet new Basel III
rules designed to shore up the sector and keep taxpayers from
footing the bill for bailouts, the central bank said on Friday.

Austrian banks, among the biggest lenders in emerging
Europe, were urged to keep strengthening their balance sheets to
be able to withstand “high” risks in an uncertain economic

Dec 12, 2012

Austrian count says innocent in arms deal trial

VIENNA, Dec 12 (Reuters) – An Austrian count accused of
covertly helping Britain’s biggest arms group win business in
central and eastern Europe insisted on Wednesday he served only
as a well-connected adviser who had nothing to do with bribes.

As his money laundering and perjury trial got under way in
Vienna, Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly entered not guilty pleas on all
counts and painted himself as a man whose acumen and family ties
propelled him from struggling poultry farmer to prosperity.

Nov 29, 2012

Austria checks Eurofighter deals amid bribery probe

VIENNA, Nov 29 (Reuters) – Austria ordered a fresh review of
business deals linked to its $2 billion order of Eurofighter
jets in 2003, aiming to settle allegations they might have been
used to help cloak bribes paid to win the contract.

German prosecutors have alleged aerospace group EADS
paid at least 50 million euros ($63.5 million) in
bribes to Austrian officials to secure the sale of 15

Nov 28, 2012

Raiffeisen sees bad loans on the rise into 2013

VIENNA, Nov 28 (Reuters) – Raiffeisen Bank International
said it expected bad loans to keep rising into next
year given tense conditions in its emerging European markets,
knocking its shares after a mixed bag of quarterly results.

The Austrian bank, which vies with Erste Group to
be central and eastern Europe’s second-biggest bank after
UniCredit, sees a slight increase in non-performing
loans “in the next months” as the economic downturn lingers.

Nov 9, 2012

Stradivarius dealer gets six years for embezzlement

VIENNA (Reuters) – A dealer in rare Stradivarius violins coveted by the world’s top violinists was sentenced on Friday to six years in prison for embezzlement after his glittering global empire crumbled.

Dietmar Machold, 63, built his Bremen-based family business into a juggernaut with branches in Zurich, Vienna, New York and Chicago to serve elite musicians and collectors of the instruments that can command prices of several million dollars.

Nov 7, 2012

OMV profit boosted by Libya and Yemen

VIENNA, Nov 7 (Reuters) – Austrian energy group OMV
said underlying quarterly profit rose a third after
Libya and Yemen helped boost production and refining margins
stayed strong.

OMV also said on Wednesday it would take time to restore
full output in Libya – now around 90 percent of levels before
the civil war that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, adding refining
margins would have to fall given overcapacity in the market.

Nov 2, 2012

CoCo bond, Austria state cash to prop up Hypo-sources

VIENNA, Nov 2 (Reuters) – Nationalised Austrian bank Hypo
Alpe Adria is readying a roughly 1 billion euro state-backed
hybrid bond combined with up to 500 million euros ($647 million)
in fresh state capital to shore up its balance sheet, sources
close to the situation said.

Austrian regulators have given Hypo until the end
of this year to come up with 1.5 billion euros in extra capital
as a buffer against recession and jittery markets, giving it a
capital ratio of 12 percent of adjusted assets.

Oct 30, 2012

Erste Group upbeat on 2013, plans dividend

VIENNA, Oct 30 (Reuters) – Erste Group Bank
expects 2013 profit to rise as emerging European economies pick
up, provisions for bad loans stay in check and revenues expand,
the Austrian lender said on Tuesday.

Erste, which vies with Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI)
to be central and eastern Europe’s No.2 lender after
UniCredit, also plans to resume paying a dividend on
2012 results, Chief Executive Andreas Treichl said.

    • About Michael

      "Mike has worked for Reuters for two decades and reported from more than a dozen countries on business and general news. His beats have included covering the European automotive industry, business news from Switzerland, German defense and security policy, and Hungary's transition to a market democracy after the collapse of communism in eastern Europe"
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