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Austrian chancellor Kurz under investigation by anti-corruption authorities

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FILE: Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz speaks with the media as he arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, Thursday, March 21, 2019.
FILE: Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz speaks with the media as he arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, Thursday, March 21, 2019.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Francisco Seco
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Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz confirmed Wednesday to lawmakers that he was under investigation by anti-corruption authorities.

The investigation centres on suspicion he made false statements to a parliamentary committee during the so-called Ibizagate.

The 2019 scandal led to the downfall of then-vice chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, who was Kurz' coalition partner at the time.

While denying the allegations, Kurz suggested the probe would likely lead to a criminal charge and that he would comply with questioning should the case go before a judge, Austria's APA news agency reported.

He said he was not planning to resign.

The Ibizagate probe came after a video surfaced showing Strache appearing to offer favours to a purported Russian investor in return for her supporting his far-right Freedom Party.

It was allegedly recorded on the Spanish island of Ibiza shortly before Austria's 2017 election.

Following the government's collapse, new elections were held and Kurz was re-elected, this time forming a coalition with the Greens.

Kurz said in his statements to the parliamentary commission that he "always tried'' to answer questions truthfully to the best of his ability but that many were about things that had happened "on the peripheries'' years earlier.

He said he had only just learned of the anti-corruption investigation and had not yet talked with the prosecutor's office.

Kurz's chief of staff, Bernhard Bonelli, is also under investigation, the chancellor said.