Austrian investigators have raided the apartment of a far-right group leader over possible links to the man behind deadly attacks on two mosques in New Zealand, officials said on Tuesday.
Martin Sellner of the Identitarian Movement Austria (IBOe) said in a video uploaded online late Monday that he had received a donation, possibly from Christchurch gunman Brenton Tarrant.
But he denied having any connection to the March 15 assault, which claimed 50 lives, and instead blamed Tarrant for seeking to involve him by making the donation.
“I have nothing to do with this terror attack,” Sellner said in the video, adding that his group’s was a peaceful anti-immigration movement.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who governs Austria in a coalition with a far-right party, on Tuesday called for a “complete and unsparing” investigation of any links.
Sellner said he had had no contact with Tarrant, but had found an email with a “disproportionally large” donation with the name “Tarrant” in the email address.
Sellner said he had sent a “thank you” reply prior to the New Zealand attack as he did with other donation emails.
The far-right leader added that authorities had seized his computer and phone during Monday’s raid on his apartment in Vienna.
The prosecutor’s office in the southern city of Graz said authorities had noticed the suspicious email address while probing the donation of around 1,500 euros ($1,700), which exceeded the usual sums given to IBOe.
Officials confirmed last week that Tarrant, who travelled extensively in Europe, also visited Austria. According to media reports, he arrived in Vienna on November 26 and visited several other places within Austria, including Salzburg and Innsbruck.
The 28-year-old was arrested minutes after the attack on the mosques and has been charged with murder. The Australian white supremacist streamed his shooting rampage online.
Last March, Sellner was prevented from entering the UK, with authorities saying his presence would not have been “conducive to the public good”.