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Austrian chancellor confirms financial link between nationalist group and Christchurch killer

Austrian chancellor confirms financial link between nationalist group and Christchurch killer
Austria’s leader confirmed Wednesday that authorities have found financial links between the suspected gunman of the recent mosque massacres in New Zealand and a local nationalist group, following a raid on an activist’s home.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz added that the Austrian government was looking into dissolving the group, known as the Identitarian Movement of Austria, after domestic intelligence agents seized electronic equipment from the apartment of its leader, Martin Sellner, on Monday.

“Our position on this is very clear, no kind of extremism whatsoever – whether it's radical Islamists or right-wing extremist fanatics – has any place in our society,” Kurz said.

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The chancellor’s comments follow statements from Hansjoerg Bacher, a spokesperson for the Graz prosecutors leading the investigation under anti-terror laws. Bacher confirmed that Sellner’s group received 1,500 euros ($1,690) in early 2018 from a donor with the same name as the shooter charged with conducting the Christchurch mosque attacks, which left 50 people dead and scores more injured.

Bacher added that the amount donated was surprisingly larger than the usual donations received by the Identitarian Movement, which is usually in the two-to-three figure range. “This made it stand out, and the events in New Zealand put a face to this donation,” he told the Associated Press on Tuesday.

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Sellner, meanwhile, has denied any knowledge of the attacks. In a video posted to YouTube, he said he would give the money to a charitable organization and suggested the donation may have been a ploy to provoke a clampdown against “patriots.”

“I’m not a member of a terrorist organization. I have nothing to do with this man, other than that I passively received a donation from him,” Sellner said.

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