In the 74-page manifesto Brenton Harrison Tarrant, the alleged New Zealand mosque shooter, published on social media before this month’s attacks that left 50 people dead, he denounced immigration to Europe, calling it an invasion.
Now Austrian investigators are probing why Tarrant made a “disproportionately high donation” to a far-right activist in Austria.
On social media, Martin Sellner, leader of the Identitarian Movement of Austria (also known as Generation Identity), said police raided his apartment Monday. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz tweeted Tuesday that “any connection between the Christchurch attacker and members of the Identitarians in Austria needs to be comprehensively and ruthlessly investigated.”
On Wednesday, Kurz said that authorities were probing whether the group could be dissolved as a result of the ongoing investigation. “There must be no tolerance for dangerous ideologies in our country — no matter if it’s radical Islam or right-wing fanaticism,” Kurz said.
Hansjoerg Bacher, a spokesman for the prosecutors in Graz, Austria, who apparently ordered the raid, told the Associated Press that most donations to the group were in the two- to three-figure range, but the one linked to Tarrant’s name was “in the low four-figure area.”
“This made it stand out, and the events in New Zealand put a face to this donation,” he said.
Sellner is a controversial figure in Europe. Last year, he was denied entry into Britain and detained for two days when he tried to travel there to make a speech. The BBC reported at the time that a Home Office representative said officials have the right to deny individuals entry “if it is considered that his or her presence in the U.K. is not conducive to the public good.”
This is not the first time police have raided Sellner’s home. Last year, prosecutors in Graz pressed charges against 17 people affiliated with his group, including him. The charges included incitement to hatred and forming a criminal organization, although only two were eventually found guilty of lesser charges related to stunts carried out by the group.
In a YouTube video this week, Sellner said he “had nothing to do with the attack” in Christchurch.
But Tarrant’s travel history has come under scrutiny since the mass shooting, particularly after he outlined in his manifesto how visits to Europe amplified his distrust of immigrants.
Austria is among the places he traveled in recent years, which include Bulgaria, Hungary, North Korea and Pakistan. Austrian authorities have not released information about whether Tarrant met with members of Sellner’s group or other far-right activists on that visit. Bulgaria’s chief prosecutor, Sotir Tsatsarov announced after the attack that Bulgaria would also be probing whether Tarrant was in the country as a tourist “or if he had other objectives.”