VIENNA, March 27 (Reuters) - Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz on Wednesday said there was a financial link between the man who killed 50 people in mass shootings at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the far-right Identitarian Movement in Austria.
Hansjoerg Bacher, spokesman for prosecutors in Graz, said Martin Sellner, head of the Identitarian Movement — which says it wants to preserve Europe’s identity — received 1,500 euros ($1,690) in early 2018 from a donor with the same name as the man charged with murder following the Christchurch attack.
“We can now confirm that there was financial support and so a link between the New Zealand attacker and the Identitarian Movement in Austria,” Kurz said.
Sellner published a video on YouTube in which he said he had received a donation from the man and that police had raided his house over the possible links to the Christchurch attacker.
In it, he said: “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.”
Bacher said an investigation was underway about whether there were criminally relevant links between Sellner and the attacker.
The Austrian Interior Ministry declined to comment.
Kurz said Austria was looking into dissolving the Identitarian Movement.
“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.
On Tuesday, Kurz said on Twitter any connection between the Christchurch attacker and members of the Identitarian Movement in Austria needed to be fully clarified.
Austrian Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, of the far-right Freedom Party (FPO), said the FPO had nothing to do with the Identitarian Movement. (Reporting by Alexandra Schwarz-Goerlich and Kirsti Knolle; Writing by Michelle Martin; Editing by Janet Lawrence)