The suspected New Zealand shooter, B. T., and Martin Sellner extended mutual invitations to each other to meet in Vienna and Australia. The Austrian confirms the authenticity of the emails, but denies ever meeting.
It is not every day that Martin Sellner, head of the right-wing extremist Identitarian movement, receives a €1500 donation. This is something that Sellner himself admits and that STANDARD’s research confirms.
Another unusual feature is that the transfer came from an English-speaking country – namely from an Australian named B. T., who used the online payment service Stripe for the donation. It was reason enough for Sellner to write an email early in the morning on 6 January 2018.
“I would like to thank you personally for your incredible donation,” wrote Sellner. He was “really surprised and thrilled”. “This is my personal email address – contact me anytime you want,” Sellner said.
This resulted in a short email exchange between Sellner and the alleged right-wing terrorist T., who would a year later murder over fifty Muslims, including children, in two mosques in New Zealand.
T. writes to Sellner regarding his donation saying that it is only “a small amount compared to the work you do”. “You are supported by people all over the world,” says T., and: “There is still a long way to go before victory, but every day our people become stronger.
“Energy and Motivation”
Sellner writes back saying T.’s words gave him “real energy and motivation”. “If you ever come to Vienna, we’ll have to go for a cup of coffee or a beer.” The invitation is reciprocated. “This also applies to you, if you ever visit Australia or New Zealand,” T. replies to the Vienna based right-wing extremist.
It’s a fact that T. goes on to spend several days in Austria in the following months – and that T. reserves a rental car in Austria one day after the last email contact between Sellner, T., “and others” online. As a result, investigators are intensively investigating whether there was a meeting between Sellner and the future terrorist.
Sellner vehemently denies this. During his police interview, he stated that he did not know T. personally and that T. does not appear in “any list of members” of his organisation. This is an interesting response given that the Identitarian Movement recently denied that they even maintain such a list of members.
Investigators remain suspicious
But the investigators remain suspicious. Sellner did not report the suspected shooters donation to the authorities, allegedly because he had become spontaneously ill shortly after the terrorist attack. In addition, Sellner deleted the email history with T., but had previously taken screenshots.
Additionally during the search of Sellner’s apartment, officers found a second mobile phone in a flower pot. Sellners smartphone, as well as that of another activist are now being cracked by the company Cellebrite.
According to the investigations files, T.’s itinerary in Austria is difficult to follow because the cars he rented lacked a navigation device. Sellner states that he neither physically met T. nor had any further contact with him.
T.’s generous donation to Sellner, which was discovered in the course of a financial audit by investigators, sparked a frenzy of activity among the authorities. Sellner is now under a terror investigation.
Responding to STANDARD, Sellner says that he deleted the emails because he “did not want to have the contact details of a terrorist in his email inbox”, but stored them for documentation purposes. “Of course, this was not an act of concealment,” said Sellner.
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