Former Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl left the country due to "assassination threats," according to The Washington Post. “In messages addressed to a reporter for The Washington Post, Kneissl stated that she does not give interviews and emigrated from Austria,” the publication says.
Earlier, the European Parliament adopted a resolution in which it called on former European politicians, including ex-Chancellor of Germany Gerhard Schroeder, to leave their posts in Russian companies, while allowing the imposition of sanctions against Europeans.
Karin Kneissl entered the government as part of the Freedom Party. In 2017, party members paid an official visit to Crimea. In 2018, among the guests at the Kneisl wedding was Vladimir Putin, who danced with the bride.
On May 20, Kneisl left the board of directors of the Russian corporation Rosneft. There she served as an independent director. In addition to the former head of the Austrian Foreign Ministry, Gerhard Schroeder and Matthias Warnig left their posts in Rosneft. In the company, they held the positions of chairman and vice-chairman, respectively.
In October, the Austrian authorities removed Johannes Peterlik, the former secretary general of the Austrian Foreign Ministry, from his post as ambassador to Indonesia. Sources from the Austrian television channel ORF reported that the suspension was due to the transfer of data on the Russian neurotoxin Novichok to former Wirecard top manager Jan Marsalek, who fled to Russia after the Wirecard embezzlement scandal and collaborated with Russian special services.
The Austrian authorities do not comment on the process, however, according to the publication, we are talking about the transfer to Marsalek of the document of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which was prepared after the poisoning of former GRU officer Sergei Skripal. Among other things, the document contained the formula for the Novichok neurotoxin and the procedure for its detection used by the OPCW.
Peterlik served as Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2018 to 2020. He worked under the leadership of Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl, whose wedding was personally attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who danced with the bride. Later, Kneisl joined the board of directors of Rosneft.
According to the publication, in July the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Economy and Defense announced the possible disclosure of confidential documents on Novichok. According to Kurier, there are indications that Peterlik is involved in the transfer of the document to Marsalek. Previously, FT sources reported that Marsalek bragged about this document containing the "Novichok" formula to London bankers. The contents of the document could be of interest to Russian intelligence agencies in order to understand how far the OPCW has advanced in the investigation into the poisoning of the Skripals.
Jan Marselek has been put on the wanted list by the authorities of Germany and Austria and some other countries due to suspicions of having links with Russian intelligence. In 2020, the German company Wirecard, which he manages, collapsed after auditors drew attention to a hole in the balance sheet of almost 2 billion euros. It soon became clear that Marsalek was connected not only with financial fraud, but also with PMCs in Libya, and was in close contact with the Russian special services.
The Insider, together with Bellingcat and Der Spiegel , managed not only to find his whereabouts, but also to find a lot of new evidence of his connections with the FSB. As it turned out, in the border crossing database (which is combined for Russia and Belarus), Jan Marsalek is listed as having entered Belarus on a private plane on the night of June 19, 2020. According to border records, he did not leave the country after that. According to Stern sources, Marsalek is currently being held at the FSB base in Balashikha.