Sebastian Kurz leaves politics to join tech investor Peter Thiel

Sebastian Kurz has switched from politics to technology by taking a position at the California-based investment firm of Peter Thiel after the former Austrian leader resigned in October following corruption allegations within the government. his government.

A person familiar with the matter said the 35-year-old former prime minister would become a “global strategist” for the business of right-wing billionaire Thiel Capital. The investment vehicle has backed a number of diverse startups, including psychedelic developer Atai.

Kurz, who was once the youngest elected leader of the European Union, closed the door to a previously glittering political career this month by resigning as head of the centre-right Austrian People’s party and claimed to have fallen victim to a “witch hunt”.

Although no formal charges have been filed, police have raided ministries across Vienna as part of an investigation into whether Kurz and his allies used state funds and made fake invoices to collect money. attracted media coverage when he was secretary of state from 2013 to 2017.

Kurz, the former torchbearer of Europe’s centre-right, denies any wrongdoing.

Thiel, of German descent, is a major donor to the campaigns of US Republican candidates. He first rose to fame as the director of payments platform PayPal, and went on to invest in Facebook, but moved into the wilds of the tech world due to an interest in radical ideas like create sovereign territory on the high seas.

In 2016, when Thiel publicly endorsed Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, distrust from the left-wing tech establishment turned to hostility, prompting him to quickly leave Silicon Valley. He’s moved his base of operations to Los Angeles and Washington, while Palantir, the big data and AI company he founded, has moved to Colorado.

Palantir’s work in helping governments analyze large amounts of data, such as to identify potential terrorists and track immigrants, has long made it a target of activists. civil liberties.

But that hasn’t stopped its influence from spreading internationally in recent years, including in Europe. The pandemic has accelerated its approach, with health authorities adopting its tools to help track the spread of Covid-19 infections and identify dwindling resources such as available hospital beds. Yes.

Thiel and Kurz seem to have known each other for years. The two were photographed together in one photo posted on Kurz’s Twitter account during the 2017 Munich Security Conference, the former prime minister said the two discussed “how #digitalization change our world”.

Additional reporting by Sam Jones and Richard Waters Sebastian Kurz leaves politics to join tech investor Peter Thiel

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