Germany: Mosque attack suspect sent money to French group

BERLIN (AP) — The suspected New Zealand mosque gunman sent money to a French far-right group and once bought a ticket to Bavaria’s “fairytale castle,” German police said Thursday.

The Federal Criminal Police Office confirmed that it briefed German lawmakers Wednesday on its investigation into ties the alleged Christchurch mosque attacker had to Germany.

The closed-door briefing included information German police had about money that the suspect, Brenton Harrison Tarrant, transferred to the Generation Identity group in France. The far-right group which espouses a white nationalist ideology has spread to other European countries since its founding in 2012.

Federal police declined to elaborate, but the German news agency dpa reported that Tarrant transferred 2,200 euros ($2,470) in September 2017.

Austrian authorities have already said Tarrant donated 1,500 euros ($1,680) to Generation Identity’s sister organization, the Identitarian Movement of Austria. The group’s head, Martin Sellner, has confirmed he exchanged emails with Tarrant but denies involvement in the attack.

New Zealand police have said that Tarrant will face 50 murder charges and 39 attempted murder charges in his second court appearance on Friday.

German police said Tarrant used his credit card last November to pay for a ticket to Neuschwanstein Castle — a popular tourist destination near the Austrian border commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria in the 19th century.

Tarrant at the time was traveling around Europe with stops including Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Estonia.

Tarrant in 2014 also made a payment to a German living in the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, police said. It was unclear what the purpose of the payment was. Federal police said their investigation is ongoing.