Austrian activist admits contact with NZ attacker

Published 16.05.2019 00:08
Updated 16.05.2019 12:46

The leader of an Austrian far-right group, Martin Sellner has confirmed a media report that he had more extensive contact with the suspect behind deadly mosque attacks in New Zealand than previously admitted.

Public broadcaster ORF reported late Tuesday that the men had in fact exchanged several emails, the last one dating back to July 2018, showing that their contact was "longer and more intensive." In reply to Sellner's "thank you" message, Tarrant said it had only been a small contribution in comparison to the work that Sellner was doing. In a further exchange, he invited Tarrant for a beer or coffee if he was ever in Vienna. Tarrant returned the invitation for New Zealand, adding that sympathizers would also be happy to host him in Australia. Sellner confirmed the authenticity of the emails to ORF but continues to deny he met Tarrant when the latter traveled to Austria. Sellner also says he did not know of the plans for the attack.

Austrian investigators have been probing the Identitarian Movement Austria (IBOe) after it emerged that its figurehead Martin Sellner received a donation from alleged Christchurch gunman Brenton Tarrant.

Tarrant made several donations to far-right "identitarian" activists in Europe known for their anti-immigration activities, Austrian daily Der Standard reported last month. The terrorist made donations in 2017 and 2018, the daily said, citing security sources from Germany and Austria familiar with the investigations. In 2017, the Australian made four donations totaling 2,200 euros (approximately $2,500). Tarrant also donated 1,500 euros to Sellner in 2018. Sellner, whose apartment was raided after authorities became aware of the link, admitted receiving the donation but denied having had any contact with him.

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