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CRIME

Prisoner robbed banks on day release

A bank robber described by the judge as “particularly brazen” has been sentenced to nine years in prison by Vienna’s Criminal Court.

Prisoner robbed banks on day release
The man in court. Photo: APA/Hochmuth

The 38-year-old man had been previously sentenced in January 2012 to four years in prison for armed robbery. However he took advantage of being allowed out on day release for good behaviour from Hirtenberg prison by robbing three banks in Vienna.

“It doesn’t sound very good,” his lawyer admitted. He said that his client was “a family man who was well behaved for almost 20 years and worked as a carpenter.” In his defence he said the man fell into “a downward spiral” due to gambling debts and then committed the robberies.

As the man started to lose greater sums of money through gambling he gave up his job and drifted into petty crime, because he thought he could make more money that way.

He was arrested after a robbery in August 2011, along with two accomplices, and sentenced two months later. After two years he was granted day release privileges for good behaviour – and initially he used these days to visit his girlfriend in Ottakring.

However, he claims that he desperately needed money to pay back loan sharks he had borrowed large sums from and so in October 2013 and February 2013 he robbed banks in Vienna – simply by writing a note demanding money and slipping it to the bank teller. After a third bank robbery, in March 2014, he was arrested. He had stolen a total of around €38,000. 

After his arrest some of the money was found in his girlfriend’s flat, where unbeknownst to her he had sewn €12,000 into jackets. He had given her €6,000, which he told her he had won. She has since broken up with him.

He also admitted committing three other previously unsolved armed robberies, of a bank and two post offices – pocketing a total of €35,000.

The defendant accepted his sentence. "I want to serve my time, continue my education and find work again after my release," he said.

 

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CRIME

Austria probes claim spyware targeted law firms and banks

Austria said Friday that it was investigating a report that an Austrian company developed spyware targeting law firms, banks and consultancies in at least three countries.

Austria probes claim spyware targeted law firms and banks

Microsoft’s security team earlier this week said it found that a malware called Subzero — developed by Vienna-based company DSIRF — was deployed in 2021 and 2022.

“Observed victims to date include law firms, banks and strategic consultancies in countries such as Austria, the United Kingdom and Panama,” it wrote in a blog entry on Wednesday.

Austria’s interior ministry said it had not received reports of any incidents.

READ ALSO: Austria wary of cyber attacks after personal data of foreign residents leaked online

“Of course, (intelligence agency) DSN checks the allegations. So far, there is no proof of the use of spy software from the company mentioned,” it said in a statement.

Austria’s Kurier newspaper cited DSIRF as saying that Subzero had not been misused and “was developed exclusively for use by authorities in EU states” and was not commercially available.

DSIRF did not immediately return a request for comment from AFP.

Austria’s interior ministry said it knew of the company but “has not had any business relationships” with it.

Last year several media outlets reported that governments around the world, including in the EU, had used Pegasus spyware made by Israel’s NSO Group to spy on opponents.

Budapest and Warsaw responded that the use of Pegasus was for legitimate national security reasons.

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