Spiegel to take legal action against disgraced reporter

Published 23.12.2018 20:41
Updated 24.12.2018 08:00

Influential German news weekly Der Spiegel said yesterday it would file a criminal complaint against a disgraced reporter after it emerged he may have embezzled donations intended for Syrian street children.

Claas Relotius, 33, resigned this month after admitting to making up stories and inventing protagonists in more than a dozen articles in the magazine's print and online editions.

The disgraced journalist had been touted by CNN as the "Journalist of the year" in 2014.

Relotius had also fabricated several stories that portrayed the U.S.' Donald Trump and his supporters in a ridiculously bad light, fabricating several interviews, phone calls and visits to towns were people "pray for Trump;" his lies caused outrage in the related American communities which had been fragrantly portrayed as radically racist.

Spiegel said it now had information that Relotius allegedly launched a campaign for readers to give money to help subjects of an article he wrote but that the bank details he gave directed the funds to his own account.

Spiegel said concerned readers had in recent days reported Relotius's call for donations purportedly for orphaned Syrian children living on the streets of Turkey.

Spiegel published the article by Relotius in July 2016 but a Turkish photographer who worked with him on the piece has since noted significant inaccuracies.

The magazine said it now believes Relotius may have simply made up one of the main protagonists, whom the article described as young siblings.

Relotius lied not only about American but also German citizens, most

prominently he fabricated stories about ‘mobs of neo-Nazis hunting minorities in Chemnitz' and other protests in Germany.

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