Disinformation as if the Investigator of the North Stream Pipeline Explosions was Found Dead

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On October 11-14th, Georgian-language Facebook users (1,2,3) reported that Eric Olsen, the main investigator of the explosions at Northern Stream 2, was found dead in his home, a bee sting being the cause of his death. The posts also claim that Olsen’s body was cremated within hours and that Russia has been formally barred from participating in the ongoing investigation into the Nord Stream 2 explosions.

In early October, Russian-language Facebook users also disseminated the news about Eric Olsen’s death (1,2,3). Some of them published the information with a photo of a middle-aged man.

Screenshot 11 3 Disinformation as if the Investigator of the North Stream Pipeline Explosions was Found Dead

The claim that the main investigator of the North Stream pipeline explosions was found dead is false. Representatives of the Swedish Prosecutor’s Office and the Copenhagen Police confirmed to Deutsche Presse-Agentur that they do not have information about the existence of such a person. The man depicted in the circulated photo is not Eric Olsen but Hungarian politician and athlete Zsolt Borkai.

The news about the sudden death of Sweden’s Deputy Chief Prosecutor Erik Olsen first appeared on Twitter. In a tweet published on October 8th,  user Remco Van Velzen wrote that Olsen, who was investigating the North Stream sabotage, was found dead at home, citing a bee sting as the cause, and his body was cremated a few hours later. This information was accompanied by a link to an article by the online publication Dissident, which deals with the crisis in the German economy. The article does not mention the death of Eric Olsen. It should be noted that, in general, Dissident aims to develop a conspiracy that the Russia-Ukraine war was started to weaken Germany and that the United States is behind the sabotage of the Nord Stream.

The tweet was later deleted, and the user explained that it did not prove that Olsen was in charge of the Northern Streams case. The same article by Dissident was attached to this tweet. A screenshot of the original tweet can still be found in several articles (1,2,3) written on the matter.

Screenshot 12 2 Disinformation as if the Investigator of the North Stream Pipeline Explosions was Found Dead

 

Remco Van Velzen named a post published in French on the Russian social network Vkontakte as the source behind the viral information. The post belongs to user Vicky Diyakova, whose page contains mainly anti-American and anti-vaxx posts. On the other hand, Vicky Diyakova does not name the source of information in her post.

The German fact-checking organization Deutsche Presse-Agentur verified the disseminated information. In a comment to the publication, representatives of both the Swedish Prosecutor’s Office and the Copenhagen Police stated that they have no information about such a person.

The claim that Russia is officially barred from participating in the Nord Stream explosion investigation is manipulative. On October 10th, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson published a statement that Sweden will not share the investigation results with Russia, as the investigation is confidential. However, Russia was not the only party to be refused cooperation. On October 14th,  it was reported that Sweden had refused to form a joint investigative team with Denmark and Germany. According to the Swedish prosecutor, Mats Ljungqvist, the issue of confidentiality of the investigation is directly linked to Sweden’s national security.

Information about the explosion of the North Streams 1 and 2 has been fact-checked by “Myth Detector” in the past as well. For more information, see our articles:

In addition, the person depicted in the photo is not Erik Olsen but the Hungarian Olympic champion Zsolt Borkai, who was also the mayor of the city of Győr until 2019 and resigned after the leak of a sex tape.

Screenshot 13 1 Disinformation as if the Investigator of the North Stream Pipeline Explosions was Found Dead
Zsolt Borkai. Source: Hungary Today

The article has been written in the framework of Facebook’s fact-checking program. You can read more about the restrictions that Facebook may impose based on this article via this link. You can find information about appealing or editing our assessment via this link.

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Topic: Politics
Violation: Disinformation
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