German Fake News Journo Accused of Embezzling Money Meant for Syrian Orphans

Former Der Spiegel star journalist Claas Relotius, who was exposed for inventing facts and interviews in his stories for years, has now been accused of embezzling money allegedly meant for Syrian orphans in Turkey.
Mr Relotius allegedly took donations from readers following the publication of his article “Königskinder,” which was published in July 2016, to a personal bank account. According to Turkish photographer Emin Özmen, much of the article contained fabrications and lies, Der Spiegel reports.

Özmen said that Relotius had written about a Syrian refugee boy in Turkey named Ahmed who had to bury his mother and had a sister who was forced into brutal work in a textile factory.

Relotius mentioned the fundraiser in a recently released journalistic anthology claiming that he had managed to bring children from the area to Lower Saxony where they are now living with a family; but this too is believed to also be made up by the disgraced journalist who now faces possible investigation from the public prosecutor’s office.

The case of Claas Relotius has sent shockwaves through not only Der Spiegel but the German mainstream media with the magazine being labelled the “lügenpresse” or “lying press” by populist opponents and others for years.

One of Relotius’s fake news stories, which involved the small town of Fergus Falls, Wisconsin, sparked the ire of many including U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell who commented, “Spiegel literally fabricated stories saying people (Americans) were racist & xenophobic. They made up events, details, & lies — and no editor checked the stories.”