Viruswaarheid has announced it will cease operations as an activist group, group chairs Jeroen Pols and Willem Engel said on Friday. The direct reason is a recent lawsuit that allowed ING Bank to close the bank accounts of a group of conspiracy theorists.
“Societal participation is impossible without an account, and that means we stop,” said Jeroen Pols.
The group was founded in early 2020 and initially operated under the name Viruswaanzin (virus nonsense). This was later renamed to mean Virus Truth in English.
The group opposed government measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, including curfews, Covid-19 vaccination campaigns, and the use of coronavirus contact tracing apps and coronavirus access pass systems. Viral Truth regularly went to court to secure a ban on such measures, but the group lost nearly every case.
The group was primarily funded by donations from supporters. The money they donated was transferred to Willem’s ING account at her Engel School of Dance. He then borrowed 50,000 euros from the foundation to buy a property in Spain. He then paid the money back, but it was the final straw for ING.
The bank closed the account in November 2020. Viruswaarheid went to court to challenge this decision, and was allowed to use its bank account in the meantime. But last month, an Amsterdam court ruled that Engel’s failure to act “in good faith” warranted the closure of his account.