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CRIME

German axe killer kept body for three months

On Tuesday evening police arrested a 52-year-old German man in Vienna for the apparent axe murder of his room mate.

German axe killer kept body for three months
Photo: APA

Vienna's specialized armed police unit WEGA arrived around 10 pm in the Messie apartment building in Aichholzgasse, to find the badly decomposed body of an as-yet unidentified victim, with the axe still embedded in the corpse, and covered with a blanket.

The apartment was totally trashed, according to police, but was still home to the suspect, who is thought to have lived with the body in the living room for around three and a half months.

The suspect surrendered himself peacefully in the bedroom.

While police don't have confirmation of the corpse's identity, they suspect that a 50-year-old migrant worker from Poland who was sharing the apartment became the victim after some kind of dispute.

Police spokesman Paul Eidenberger said that the 52-year-old suspect had been staying with a friend, and had complained he couldn't sleep at his own apartment because of the body in the living room.  The friend told another friend, who was so disturbed that he contacted the police station in Ottakring.

According to the acquaintance, the German suspect was suffering from a severe mental illness.  He has already confessed to the murder in custody, however the background of the killing and the identity of the victim have not been disclosed.

The Vienna prosecutor's office has ordered an autopsy.

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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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