Der Spiegel is taking further action against a reporter it had fired after he admitted to writing fabricated stories. The German news weekly says it will file a criminal complaint against Claas Relotius, for allegedly pocketing donations that readers believed were going to benefit Syrian children.
Relotius acknowledged he had made up stories and invented protagonists in more than a dozen articles in the magazine’s print and online editions. He was fired by the publication earlier this month.
“Der Spiegel will give all the information it collects to public prosecutors as part of a criminal complaint,” it said on its website.
It said it had been unaware of the campaign and that it was not immediately clear how much money was raised from the appeal, apparently made by email to readers who contacted him about the story.
Spiegel published the article by Relotius in July 2016.
In its most recent edition, the publication said the scam was the “worst thing that can happen to an editorial team” and promised to “do everything to boost our credibility again.”
Relotius’s articles went on to be nominated for major journalism awards — some of which he won. Some of the articles included stories about Iraqi children kidnapped by the Islamic State, a Guantanamo Bay prisoner as well as Syrian orphans working in a Turkish sweatshop.