Austria far-right figure probed over NZ attacker link
Martin Sellner of the Identitarian Movement Austria (IBOe) said in a video uploaded online late on 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 prior to 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".
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ordered an independent judicial inquiry into whether police and intelligence services could have prevented the Christchurch mosque attacks on March 15, reports confirmed on Monday.
Ardern said a royal commission - the most powerful judicial probe available under New Zealand law - was needed to find out how a single gunman was able to kill 50 people in an attack that shocked the world.
"It is important that no stone is left unturned to get to how this act of terrorism occurred and how we could have stopped it," she told reporters.
New Zealand's spy agencies have faced criticism in the wake of the attack for concentrating on the threat from Islamic extremism.
Instead, the victims were all Muslims and the massacre was allegedly carried out by a white supremacist fixated on the belief that there was an Islamist plot to "invade" Western countries.
"One question we need to answer is whether or not we could or should have known more," Ardern said.
"New Zealand is not a surveillance state ... but questions need to be answered."
Ardern ruled out New Zealand re-introducing the death penalty for accused gunman Brenton Tarrant, 28, who was arrested minutes after the attack on the mosques and has been charged with murder.
She said details of the royal commission were being finalised, but it would be comprehensive and would report in a timely manner.
It will cover the activities of intelligence services, police, customs, immigration and any other relevant government agencies in the lead-up to the attack.
Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab