A Norwegian exponent of an anti-Semitic ideology has been arrested in France on the “suspicion he was preparing a major terrorist act”.

French authorities said Kristian ‘Varg’ Vikernes, a musician who served 16 years of a life sentence for murdering his friend, constituted “a potential threat to society” after his wife was arrested buying four rifles.

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Vikernes during his time with Black Metal band Mayhem

Vikernes, described by French officials as a neo-Nazi, had links to Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011. Recently released from prison, he promotes what he calls ‘Odalism,’ an ideology that includes racism, anti-Semitism and elements of ethnic European paganism.

Vikernes, 40, was known in Norwegian black metal circles in the early 1990s under the stage name Count Grishnackh. He played in various black metal bands including Mayhem.

In 1994 he was sentenced to 21 years in prison for the manslaughter of Mayhem band member Oystein Aarseth and arson attacks against three churches. He was released from prison in 2009 after serving 16 years.

After being released from prison he has continued to record music under the name Burzum.

French authorities described Vikernes as a “sympathiser” of Anders Breivik and his manifesto accusing Muslims of destroying European society. Vikernes acknowledged reading the manifesto on his blog, but appears to distance himself from Breivik and at one point refers to him as a “nutcase”.