Romanian in court for brutal robberies

A young Romanian man accused of a string of brutal robberies and attacks on women in Vienna last Spring is appearing in court on Tuesday.

Romanian in court for brutal robberies
Marius C in court. Photo: APA/PFARRHOFER

In five cases the 21-year-old, named as Marius C., is also accused of attempted murder after his victims were attacked with an iron bar.

The trial is expected to last three days, with a verdict due on Friday. His victims were mostly young women – the youngest was only 13. One woman almost died from her injuries.

If found guilty he faces between ten and 20 years in prison, or a life sentence.

Marius C. has confessed to the robberies but is pleading not guilty to attempted murder.

He is accused of carrying out eight robberies which took place in Vienna’s Favoriten district in March and April.

In five cases the women were beaten with an 50 cm-long iron bar, which was taken from a fence in Favoriten. Some of the victims were left with serious facial and head injuries.

One, an employee of ÖVP politician Othmar Karas, barely survived the attack and her injuries are permanent and life-changing. Another woman was blinded in one eye. 

Marius C. took only small amounts of money, mobile phones, bank cards and ID cards.

He arrived in Vienna from Romania on March 9th with relatives to do some temporary, undeclared construction work for which he was paid €2,000. 

He had planned to return home in May but is believed to have carried out the first attack just a week after his arrival.

Two years ago he was arrested for assaulting a young woman in Romania and pushing her down some stairs. He spent less than a year in prison.

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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.