Chief Correspondent, Vienna, Vienna
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Feb 6, 2013

Vienna set to party like it’s 1899

VIENNA (Reuters) – Attending this year’s Vienna Opera Ball will be a dream come true for Oscar-winning U.S. actress Mira Sorvino, she said on Wednesday as the Austrian capital put the finishing touches on it most glittering social event.

“I feel like I’m going to be in a fairy tale ball, like Cinderella walking into the ball,” she told reporters.

Jan 25, 2013

“Grey mouse” denies secret dealings in Austria scandal

SALZBURG, Austria, Jan 25 (Reuters) – An Austrian provincial
official accused of secret financial dealings more typical of
hedge funds went public on Friday, saying her bosses knew all
about the speculative investments and exotic currency trades.

Monika Rathgeber, who until Friday had been known to
Austrians only as “Monika R”, fought back for the first time in
a scandal which has exposed lax supervision of opaque provincial
finances, brought on early regional elections and triggered a
drive to amend the constitution.

Jan 23, 2013

September eyed for European bank stress tests: sources

VIENNA/LONDON (Reuters) – The European Central Bank (ECB) and European Banking Authority (EBA) are aiming to carry out a joint stress test on Europe’s major banks in September, sources told Reuters.

Austria’s FMA markets watchdog said on Wednesday that the EBA plans stress tests this year even as the European Central Bank prepares to take on supervision of top lenders from 2014.

Jan 17, 2013

Austrian count cleared of arms deal money laundering

VIENNA, Jan 17 (Reuters) – An Austrian count was acquitted
on Thursday of charges he covertly helped Britain’s biggest arms
group distribute millions of euros to win weapons deals in
central and eastern Europe.

Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly, who had insisted during his trial
that he served only as a well-connected adviser who had nothing
to do with bribes, instead got a two-month suspended sentence on
a lesser charge of falsifying evidence.

Jan 15, 2013

Tough 2013 to set survival test for emerging Europe banks

VIENNA, Jan 15 (Reuters) – This year is shaping up as a
survival test for banks in central and eastern Europe. It could
bring recovery for those which have strengthened their balance
sheets and cripple others which have not.

Lending growth is slowing in sluggish economies, bad loans
are on the rise and margins are narrowing from the heady days
before Europe’s debt crisis infected emerging markets to the
East, senior bankers said on Tuesday.

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

    • 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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