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Austrian government plunged into crisis over 'Ibiza affair'

Under pressure: Heinz-Christian Strache, Austrian far-right party leader and Vice-Chancellor. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Just days before EU elections, Austria's coalition government has been plunged into crisis as far-right party leader Heinz-Christian Strache comes under huge pressure to resign after explosive revelations from a hidden camera sting.

Media reports allege that Strache promised public contracts in return for campaign help from a fake Russian backer.

Germany's Der Spiegel and Sueddeutsche Zeitung published hidden-camera recordings of a sting operation they say took place in a luxury villa on the island of Ibiza a few months before 2017's parliamentary elections in Austria.

In the recordings Strache and his party's group leader in parliament Johann Gudenus are seen discussing with a woman purporting to be the niece of a Russian oligarch how she can invest in Austria.

She says she specifically wants to gain control of the country's largest-circulation tabloid, the Krone Zeitung.

Strache is seen suggesting that new owners could make staff changes at the Krone and use the paper to help his Freedom Party in its election campaign.

He goes on to suggest the woman would then be able to gain access to public contracts.

According the German newspapers, Strache says that there would be no resistance among the Krone's editorial staff as "journalists are the biggest whores on the planet".