‘Fake Pandemic’ Conspiracy Lawyer Arrested After Claims He Ripped Off His Followers

Reiner Fuellmich, a German lawyer who led an international push to prosecute elites for orchestrating a “fake” pandemic, is accused of embezzling funds donated to his campaign.

A German lawyer who spearheaded a drive to prosecute elites for orchestrating a “fake pandemic” has been arrested for alleged embezzlement after being deported from Mexico.

Reiner Fuellmich, 65, is accused of having embezzled hundreds of thousands of euros as managing director of the “Corona Committee Foundation,” which collected substantial donations from the global COVID “truther” movement for its intended class action lawsuit against the supposed architects of the “fake pandemic,” the public prosecutor's office in Göttingen, Germany, said on Tuesday. 


Fuellmich’s attempt to put people on trial was known among his supporters as the “Nuremberg 2.0” campaign, likening it to the mass trial of Nazi leaders responsible for World War 2. 

Fuellmich had been living in Tijuana, Mexico in a bid to evade German authorities. They had issued an arrest warrant for him in March, after receiving a complaint from his former associates that he had misappropriated funds donated to the Corona Committee Foundation. The Göttingen public prosecutor's office said he was deported from Mexico last week after his residence permit expired, before being arrested on arrival at Frankfurt airport.

The office in Göttingen, where Fuellmich had been previously based, said its ongoing investigation into the lawyer had found evidence of significant transfers of funds from the Corona Committee Foundation’s accounts into the private accounts of Fuellmich and his wife. This included a payment of €200,000 to Fuellmich’s wife in 20 transactions in November 2020, and another alleged transaction of €500,000 in May the following year.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Fuellmich was best known for his work in corporate fraud cases against major companies including Volkswagen and Deutsche Bank. But in 2020 he established himself as a leading figurehead in the global COVID “truther” movement, speaking at conspiracy theorist events and drawing support for his pledge to investigate “crimes against humanity” supposedly committed by governments and corporations around the pandemic. 


READ: Why conspiracy theorists see this lawyer as their saviour

In one typical video interview from June 2021, Fuellmich falsely claimed to Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist under Donald Trump, that “concrete plans for this pandemic were made by very rich and powerful people some 10 years ago, amongst them the Rockefeller Foundation.” 

“The people who are [behind] this don't care about money. They care about control,” he said later in the interview.

Along with other figures from the “Corona Committee,” Fuellmich was also involved in a fringe, anti-lockdown party called Die Basis, which won 1.4 percent of the party vote in Germany’s 2021 federal election. 

Una Titz, researcher and analyst at Germany’s Amadeu Antonio Foundation, which monitors extremism, told VICE News that Fuellmich’s campaign to prosecute elites over COVID had begun losing momentum long before his arrest, as coronavirus receded as an issue, and Fuellmich waded into other conspiracist talking points, such as the war in Ukraine, and more recently the Hamas-Israel conflict. 

Fuellmich’s lawyer, Dagmar Schön, has tried to paint his arrest as the politically motivated arrest of a dissident. “They want to silence a spokesman for the resistance,” she told a YouTuber in the aftermath of his arrest.

Titz said this response was typical within the conspiracist scene, where brushes with the law were typically framed as persecution by the establishment.

“Many of Fuellmich’s supporters are trying to establish a case of political injustice, persecution, and draw comparisons to Julian Assange,” she told VICE News. 

“It's unsurprising that a highly fraudulent milieu would rally behind him, as some of his most prominent supporters have had their own run-ins with the law.”