Three members of the same family who were high profile campaigners against the government’s coronavirus measures have been arrested and charged with conning their supporters out of cash.
Pieter Kuit, 58, his wife, 55, and their 30-year-old daughter Jade were arrested in Alphen aan den Rijn, the public prosecution department said on Thursday.
All three are well known from the coronavirus protest circuit, and are particularly popular in fundamentalist Protestant circles, the AD reported.
The paper says the three worked together with German lawyer Reiner Fuellmich who has been accused of large scale fraud in his home country. They also worked closely with other high profile coronavirus deniers in the Netherlands.
Kuit and his daughter set up a ‘research commission’ named BPOC2020 to investigate what they said were government coronavirus crimes. Reports from people they claimed to be qualified doctors and scientists could be read online for a fee.
The fees and donations all went into a private bank account, the AD said. In addition, the Kuits sold tickets for the presentation of their research into the coronavirus vaccinations, which has never taken place.
Kuit and his daughter have threatened to start lawsuits against the then health minister Hugo de Jonge and Belgian virologist Marc van Ranst. Kuit also falsely claimed to have a university title, which is a criminal offence in the Netherlands, but the public prosecutor declined to take legal action against him in 2021.
Van Ranst has welcomed news of the arrests, saying on Twitter that the ‘commission’ was simply a way ‘of getting money’ out of coronavirus deniers.
The BPOC2020 website is currently offline but the Twitter account, which has over 22,000 followers, has moved from coronavirus to spreading other conspiracy theories.
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