March 22, 2017 / 10:51 AM / 3 years ago

Austria investigates officials in connection with Vienna runway ruling

VIENNA (Reuters) - Austrian prosecutors have opened an investigation into two officials for alleged abuse of office over their involvement in a court ruling against a planned third runway at Vienna Airport, a spokeswoman for the prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Newspaper Kurier reported earlier on Wednesday that the investigation was into two of the three administrative court judges who ruled last month the runway should not be built, on the grounds that it would run counter to Austria’s commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Kurier said the two judges were suspected of having a conflict of interest.

“It is true, an investigation has been opened,” a spokeswoman for the Vienna prosecutors’ office said when asked about the Kurier report, adding that the investigation was on suspicion of abuse of office.

When asked if the investigation was into the two judges, she said: “I cannot provide any information on that. There is an investigation into two suspects and further unknown persons.”

Vienna Airport has said it will appeal the ruling, which said the positive aspects of the plan to build the runway did not justify the extra carbon dioxide emissions it would involve.

A spokeswoman for the administrative court that issued the verdict declined to comment.

Reporting by Alexandra Schwarz-Goerlich, Shadia Nasralla and Kirsti Knolle; writing by Francois Murphy; Editing by Victoria Bryan

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