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FPÖ blackmailer sentenced to 14 months

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FPÖ blackmailer sentenced to 14 months
Ewald Stadler. Photo: APA/GEORG HOCHMUTH

The former Freedom Party politician Ewald Stadler was found guilty Wednesday of attempted blackmail of Freedom Party (FPÖ) leader Heinz-Christian Strache over photos showing the latter consorting with a group of German Neo-Nazis in the so-called "Paintball Affair".

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He was sentenced to prison for a period of 14 months, with a period of three years' probation.

A second defendant in the trial, Robert Stelzl, an employee of Stadler was also found guilty in the same matter, and was sentenced to nine months of conditional imprisonment, which is a non-custodial sentence similar to probation.

The case dates back to 2007, when Stadler allegedly met with Strache-confidant, Johannes Gudenus Jr, and told him of the existence of a series of potentially incriminating photos of Strache as a young man engaged in a military style paintball match in a forest with members of a German Neo-Nazi group.

According to Strache, Stadler told him before the meeting with Gudenus - which took place in the back room of a Chinese restaurant in Vienna's third district - that he "had something incriminating against him".

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