VIENNA – A former Austrian interior minister accused of corruption after offering to influence legislation for money has pleaded innocent.
Ernst Strasser, who is also an EU lawmaker, told the court on Monday that he suspected U.S. secret services had set him up and he had played along to catch them red-handed. He said he thought U.S. displeasure with the EU parliament's rejection of proposed anti-terrorist measures were behind the alleged surveillance.
Strasser was charged after he was secretly filmed in 2010 by two journalists working for Britain's The Sunday Times posing as lobbyists seeking to water down proposed EU legislation. They specifically said they were looking to weaken the obligation of electric appliance dealers to take back old energy-wasting products.
Strasser faces 10 years in prison if found guilty.