Julian Hessenthaler: What you should know about the Ibiza mastermind

More than a year ago, the “Ibizagate” video was released and led to the breakup of the APP (the Austrian People's Party) and FPA (the Freedom Party of Austria) coalition managed by the Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. As a result, the then Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache resigned, and Johann Gudenus left his post as FPA Club chairman as well as the party itself. The biggest political scandal in the recent Austrian history, that took place within the tenure of AVP leader Sebastian Kurz, has still raised many questions around the backers of the affair and those who were involved. One of the key figures and main mastermind of the “Ibiza" affair is Julian Hessenthaler. But who exactly is behind this person?

For the authorities in Vienna, a private detective Julian Hessenthaler, the alias Julian Thaler, is the linchpin in the investigation of the “Ibiza” affair. He is a close confidant of the fake Russian oligarch’s niece who acted as the Ibiza decoy. Hessenthaler's accomplice is a lawyer Dr. Ramin Mirfakhrai from Vienna, with whom a good friendly relationship was established. In January 2017, the advocate with Iranian roots approached a real estate agent Irena Markovic, Johann Gudenus and his wife’s good friend. As another main mastermind, he asked the real estate agent to establish contact between Johann Gudenus and his client, the Russian oligarch with the alias name Alyona Makarov, as she expressed keen interest in buying a huge forest plot from the Gudenus family. Julian Hessenthaler acted as an advisor for Alyona Makarov; the detective from Ibiza met with the luxury real estate trustee Irena Markovic at least ten times.

The daily newspaper Courier published in its article that in May 2017 Julian Hessenthaler instructed his secretary Evi F. to look for a ranch in Spain, and then in July she reserved for three nights in her name that property in Ibiza, which became the scene of the scandal. On July 20, 2017, at the Restplatzborse at Schwedenplatz in Vienna Hessenthaler booked flights to Ibiza for his companion and himself. On July 24, the momentous meeting occurred at the ranch during which the video was taken. After being in Ibiza, the detective met repeatedly with the real estate agent Irena Markovic and expressed his displeasure; he said that "the oligarch was pissed. Things didn't go as she had imagined." The other things also did not pass as smoothly as desired. The sound quality of the video was so poor that the audio file had to be reworked in a recording studio in Vienna's Neubau district.

As reported on www.kurier.at, Julian Hessenthaler founded the security consulting firm Konsic GmbH, based in Munich, in March 2015. On the homepage, that is now unavailable, he boasted about his professional skills as a detective being on behalf of the criminal police, the Ministry of the Interior "and foreign governments"; the telephone connection now leads to a law firm in Munich. It soon became apparent that the detective agency in the capital of Bavaria was not profitable: in the 2017 financial year, the "deficit not covered by equity" amounted to 97,494 euros, according to Creditreform, and the debt was 163,864 euros.

The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) found out that Julian Hessenthaler had a different name at birth. He was originally a resident of Vienna's seventh district, Neubau, and according to the Chamber of Commerce he did not possess an Austrian trade license for a detective agency. There is also a tip-off leading to Luxembourg, where his mother is rumored to live. The BVT suspects that he should have lived there in 2016. And then in the fall of 2019, Julian Hessenthaler moved both his company and his residence to Berlin in the Charlottenburg district.

According to Gert Schmidt from the EU-Infothek disclosure platform, who was the first to report on the detective from Ibiza, Julian Hessenthaler is said to be involved in a suspected industrial espionage case as was his former partner Sascha Wandl, a detective from Lower Austria who trained Hessenthaler in industrial espionage. In 2016, they broke up on rather bad terms. Julian Hessenthaler was employed by Wandl's security company "Die Gruppe Sicherheit GmbH" (2013/14).

There is no doubt that Julian Hessenthaler set up Ibizagate and is considered to be the main person responsible for the entire operation. Together with his partner Dr. Ramin Mirfakhrai, he is behind thoroughly planned recordings that brought down former FPO leader H.-C. Strache. In the bomb-like video, however, Hessenthaler himself only appears in passing. Sascha Wandl, the former head of Ibiza Detective, confirmed in an exclusive interview with www.oe24.tv that his former protégé is the creator of the scandalous Ibiza video: "I have trained Julian H.. The Ibiza video bears exactly my signature. I recognized him immediately from the video footage." As for a possible motive, Wandl was sure it was about money and politics. And he also brought into play an active Viennese FPO politician who is said to be friends with the lawyer and Ibiza detective Julian Hessenthaler. This is said to be a former companion of H.-C. Strache, who nowadays, however, is no longer well disposed towards him.

Furthermore, the interim report of SOKO Ibiza/Tape reveals that Wandl massively incriminates his former business partner Hessenthaler with his testimony; he made the following statement: "From my point of view, the 'inner circle' regarding Strache's destruction was his bodyguard, the lawyer, as well as S. and H." The meetings of this group at a luxury Italian restaurant in downtown of Vienna had already "taken place from 2012/2013." And: "I can definitely say that blackmailing H.-C. Strache was already a topic at that time. H. was involved in these meetings because of the cocaine. I never understood, when I was present at these meetings, what exactly caused this hatred against Strache. But the way I see it is that this lot simply wanted to make coal."

Publications on www.diepresse.com brought to light that Julian Hessenthaler is not only said to have worked as a detective or security guard - he is also said to have earned regular income as a cocaine dealer. He is said to have distributed drugs worth 255,000 euros to four accomplices. In the course of the investigation into the Ibiza backers, a total of 3.1 kilograms of cocaine were seized from a former employee of Hessenthaler, Bosnian K., and his confidante, Slovakian H., during a raid in November 2019. The drug supplier was Julian Hessenthaler. According to his own statement, the Bosnian K. had worked for years as an undercover agent for drug investigators, and Julian Hessenthaler is also said to have worked for a security agency. K. is even said to have helped Hessenthaler lay the “Ibizagate” video trap.

Published articles on www.kurier.at revealed that house searches were conducted in November 2019 and three alleged accomplices were arrested. In addition, the equipment for the video shoot was seized from Julian Hessenthaler’s local acquaintance (from the "Atrium" on the Schwarzenbergplatz in Vienna). "These devices are hidden cameras in manipulated light switches, radio alarm clocks, dummies of coffee mugs, etc., as well as, for example, microphones in the form of jacket buttons, etc.," reads the SOKO Ibiza/Tape report. Julian Hessenthaler’s DNA trace was found on the surveillance equipment, and since then the Ibiza detective has been wanted on a European arrest warrant. The Vienna Public Prosecutor's Office is investigating Hessenthaler on suspicion of misuse of sound recordings and wiretaps, forgery of documents, extortion and drug trafficking.

As already published on www.oe24.at, Julian Hessenthaler did not appear for questioning by the Federal Criminal Police Office in Vienna. His Berlin lawyer Johannes Eisenberg claims that his client is in Germany, but in reality, the Ibiza detective has gone into hiding. The investigators suspect that Hessenthaler is in Spain or in Croatia. That is also where the current trail of the missing Ibiza decoy Alyona Makarov leads. The Federal Criminal Police Office is pulling out all the stops to track down the detective. The cells are said to have been carefully assessed, as well airline passenger lists. But no luck so far.

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