Contacts between Austrian Identitarian leader, Martin Sellner, and the Christchurch shooter were more extensive than previously acknowledged, according to European media reports.

Austrian public broadcaster ORF first reported that contact between Sellner and Brenton Tarrant was “longer and more intensive” than previously acknowledged by Sellner, who had claimed that the mens’ correspondence was limited to a thank you message after Tarrant made a €1500 (A$2,430) donation to Sellner’s Identitäre Bewegung Österreichs (IBÖ) organisation. Sellner now claims that he always acknowledged that there was an exchange of several messages, not one single email.

According to ORF, the men exchanged several friendly emails after Tarrant’s donation in January 2018. In one, Sellner invites Tarrant for beer or coffee should he ever visit Austria. Tarrant responds to the invitation in kind, saying that he knew many people who would like to host Sellner if he ever visited to Australia or New Zealand.

Sellner also sent Tarrant a link to his YouTube channel, and Tarrant responded, “fantastisch”.

In July 2018 Sellner sent another email to thank Tarrant for the donation. One day later, Tarrant booked accommodation and a rental car in Austria. It is unclear whether the two met in Austria, though Sellner denies that this happened.

These emails, whose authenticity Sellner acknowledged to ORF, were deleted by Sellner just hours before Austrian intelligence services raided his home in Vienna. Sellner, however, retained screenshots of the exchange, claiming that he had planned to give them to the authorities.

Austrian intelligence services are continuing to investigate whether there was further contact between the men, and whether or not they met in Austria.

Sellner’s IBÖ is part of a larger far-right “Identitarian” movement with branches in most western European countries, North America and New Zealand.

Like Tarrant, Identitarians stoke fears of a “great replacement”. The Generation Identity website says this “will turn us into minorities in our own countries in a few decades”.

At the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, members of American Identitarian group, Identity Evropa, chanted “you will not replace us”, a slogan coined by their former leader and founder, Nathan Damigo.

Since his connection with Tarrant was revealed, Sellner’s immigration status in the United States has changed, and he is unable to visit the country where his fiancé, far right YouTuber Brittany Pettibone, lives.

Late last month, the Republican party in Kootenai county, Idaho, where Pettibone lives, was embroiled in controversy when it voted in support of the couple’s desire to reunite for their planned North American wedding.

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