Disinfo: Pseudo human right defenders’ White Helmets embezzle 1/3 of their funds


Germany demanded that the White Helmets’ support fund return part of their donations. According to the newspaper Welt, the decision was prompted by a recent investigation by Dutch journalists. They discovered a number of financial violations with the fund of pseudo-human rights defenders, as well as their founder.

A third of all funds received were spent by the White Helmets not for charitable purposes, but for other purposes.


The report by Rossiya 24 mixes up narratives. The German newspaper die Welt, to which Rossiya-24 refers, reports on the financial audit of the Dutch NGO Mayday Rescue. As a result, so far, the German Foreign Office (Auswartiges Amt) asked Mayday Rescue to reimburse about 50 thousand euros from the total of 19,62 million euros granted. Mayday Rescue was known as a donor to the White Helmets.

No narrative on "pseudo humanitarian organisation" was advanced by German journalists. This recurrent narrative was added by Rossiya-24. Welt emphasises that "the Federal Foreign Office pointed out that the allegations only related to the Dutch NGO. The work of the White Helmets and their important commitment to the Syrian civilian population should be expressly separated from it". "The White Helmets are known for their work in the Syrian civil war because they are often among the first to help out after bomb attacks. In the past eight years, they saved more than 115,000 people, according to US figures", - says die Welt.

"There is also talk of financial irregularities in court proceedings brought by the Dutch NGO against its former director. It has been declared (undisputed) that "in 2018, 27 percent of the donated money and in 2019, even 33 or 34 percent of the money was not made available for the specified goals, but was spent on costs," it is said in the verdict published in early July", - reports die Welt.

Therefore, the sentence "a third of all funds received were spent by White Helmets not for charitable purposes, but for other purposes" contains disinformation in particular: no law enforcement or government inspection accuses the White Helmets themselves of misappropriating 1/3 of the funds they received.

The work of the White Helmets continues unabated, said the Chairman of the organisation, Raed Salah, to the German Press Agency. Even if Mayday Rescue was one of the main donors, now, without its support, the organisation continues to work without financial problems.

See more disinformation cases on the White Helmets.


  • Reported in: Issue 207
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 31/07/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Russia, Germany, Syria
  • Keywords: White Helmets


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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