VIENNA: Austrian authorities have raided the apartment of a far-right group leader in a probe linking him to the man behind deadly attacks on two mosques in New Zealand, officials said 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 the 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 his group’s was a peaceful anti-immigration movement.
He said he had had no contact with Tarrant, but before the New Zealand attack 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 as he did with other donation emails.
The far-right leader added that authorities had seized his laptop and phone during Monday’s raid on his apartment in Vienna.
An interior ministry spokesman confirmed the raid, but did not give any further details.
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.
Tarrant, 28, 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”.