Covid conspiracy group Viruswaarheid, cut off from banking, will call it quits
Viruswaarheid announced that it will stop as an activist group, said the group's chairs, Jeroen Pols and Willem Engel, on Friday. The immediate reason is a recent lawsuit, which gave ING Bank the ability to close the conspiracy theorist group's bank account.
"Participation in society is impossible without an account. That means that we will stop," said Jeroen Pols.
The group was founded in early 2020 and was initially active under the name Viruswaanzin, which translates to Virus Nonsense. This was later changed to a name which means Virus Truth in English.
The group opposed government measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, such as the curfew, as well as the Covid-19 vaccination campaign and the use of the coronavirus contact tracing app and the coronavirus access pass system. Viruswaarheid regularly went to court to try and secure a ban on such measures, but the group lost nearly every case.
The group operated primarily on donations from supporters. The money they gave was transferred to the ING account of Willem Engel's dance school. He then borrowed 50,000 euros from the foundation to buy a piece of property in Spain. He has since repaid that money, but for ING it was the final straw.
The bank closed the account in November 2020. Viruswaarheid went to court to fight this cecision, and was allowed to use the bank account in the meantime. Last month, however, the court in Amsterdam ruled that closing the account was justified because Engel had not acted "with integrity."
Reporting by ANP