Austrian Social Democrats fire Israeli consultant held in graft probe
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Austrian Social Democrats fire Israeli consultant held in graft probe

Tal Silberstein dropped in lead up to elections, after his arrest on suspicion of money laundering

Tal Silberstein, seen at Rishon Lezion Magistrate's Court , on August 14, 2017. (Flash90)
Tal Silberstein, seen at Rishon Lezion Magistrate's Court , on August 14, 2017. (Flash90)

VIENNA — Austria’s Social Democratic Party has announced that it is severing business relations with an Israeli political consultant, after Israeli authorities arrested him on suspicion of money laundering, obstruction of justice, bribery, and related crimes.

Tal Silberstein was one of four suspects arrested Monday in Israel following a joint investigation with Swiss and American authorities.

Social Democratic Party official Georg Niedermuhlbicher says his party’s move is a result of “the legal accusations that have been made known from Israel.” The party is the senior partner in the coalition now ruling Austria.

The development comes ahead of October national elections and could hurt the Social Democrats, who are trailing behind center-right and right-wing rivals in polls. The other parties are criticizing the Social Democrats for choosing Silberstein as a consultant.

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