Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 26 April 2019

Disgraced reporter faces investigation over Syria donations

Claas Relotius appealed to readers for donations for Syrian orphans to be paid into his own accounts

Disgraced journalist Claas Relotius is under investigation for allegedly soliciting donations for Syrian orphans from his readers. AP
Disgraced journalist Claas Relotius is under investigation for allegedly soliciting donations for Syrian orphans from his readers. AP

A German journalist who was found to have made up information for numerous articles may be charged with allegedly soliciting donations for Syrian orphans from his readers.

The German magazine Der Spiegel said its award-winning former reporter Claas Relotius asked readers by email from his private account for donations to be transferred to his personal bank account. Readers were moved by the tale of two Syrian siblings described in one of Mr Relotius stories. According to a photographer who worked by Mr Relotius, the children were not siblings and the boy was not an orphan.

But the disgraced freelancer "collected the readers' money under false pretenses, which he apparently has not, as pormised passed on" Der Spiegel editors wrote on the magazine's website.

Der Spiegel said it is not clear how many people donated money, how much the reporter collected or what happened to the money. The magazine said it would press charges and work with prosecutors to find out the details.

The news magazine announced on Wednesday that Mr Relotius, 33, had fabricated interviews and facts in at least 14 articles. It has since sacked him.

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