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CRIME

Convicted killer arrested for taxi driver murder

A convicted murderer suspected of brutally stabbing a female taxi driver to death in Linz on Monday night has been arrested in Wels, Upper Austria.

Convicted killer arrested for taxi driver murder
The jacket which led to Erwin K's arrest. Photo: Police

His DNA was already on a police database as he was found guilty of strangling his girlfriend in 1990, for which he received a 20 year prison sentence.

"He is 46-year-old Erwin K., and is strongly suspected of having committed the murder," Christian Hubmer, a spokesman for the Wels prosecutor, told Austrian media.

Traces of DNA on a black and white sports jacket which was found near the crime scene were linked to Erwin K., a German national. He was only released from prison in February after having been sentenced a second time for robbery, credit card fraud and assault.

Hubmer said that Erwin, described as a loner, was considered dangerous and members of the public had been warned to stay away from him in the wake of the murder and not be tempted “to play the vigilante”.

After the 56-year-old taxi driver was stabbed on Monday a Europe-wide manhunt was launched.  

After receiving a tip-off from hotel staff, plain clothes police arrested Erwin K. in the Hotel Greif in Wels on Thursday evening. He was taken by surprise and did not resist arrest.

The motive for the stabbing is still unclear but police suspect that he had planned to rob the taxi driver. She only had €66 from the day’s fares and was stabbed repeatedly in the face, head and neck with a jackknife.

"We don’t believe that there was a personal connection between the alleged offender and the victim," Hubmer said.

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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