Allegation of fraud: Kliemann takes a stand, the partners draw the consequences

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TV satirist Jan Böhmermann accused founder and influencer Fynn Kliemann of deliberate deception when selling corona masks. His partner is now reacting.

Youtuber, musician, software entrepreneur, influencer: Fynn Kliemann.
photo alliance / dpa

Fraud allegations against serial entrepreneur and influencer Fynn Kliemann (34) are dominating social media. On Friday, the hashtags “#FynnKliemann”, “#Boehmermann” and sometimes also “#Masken” were trending on the short message service Twitter. What happened?

On Friday evening, TV satirist Jan Böhmermann published a new episode of ZDF Magazin Royal. In it, Böhmermann accuses Kliemann of deliberately providing false information when trading respiratory masks in the spring of 2020. Kliemann, who also runs his own fashion brand, then replaced textile production with masks.

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On the Internet, Kliemann behaved as a socially responsible entrepreneur. The masks were produced “fairly” in Europe and sold at “cost price”, he pointed out at the time. However, as research by Böhmermann’s team now suggests, Kliemann deceived fans and business partners. The masks actually came from Asia and not from Europe as claimed. Moreover, the Youtuber would have made a profit with the sale.

This is what Fynn Kliemann says about the allegations

When asked, Fynn Kliemann has since commented on the allegations at the Gründerszene. “I would like to formally apologize to all individuals, organizations and institutions who are now ‘at first glance’ disappointed and shocked. I ask for your forgiveness and a differentiated view from all perspectives. This is what transparency is for. and clarification, which I’m ready for,” the entrepreneur said in a multi-page statement. He takes the allegations very seriously. “I must apologize for some and I urgently need to correct others because these allegations of fraud are simply not true.”

It is true that the textile company, in which Kliemann now has a stake, also had masks made in Bangladesh. However, he never sold or advertised them. It only offered masks through its online store that came “100%” from factories in Portugal and Serbia. In the letter, Kliemann admits he “made money” selling the masks. “But when it comes to the country of origin, I have never deceived anyone or passed anything off as something that it was not”, continues the entrepreneur.

About You halts sales, foundation withdraws ‘sustainability award’

The first partners of the influencer (818,000 followers on Instagram) are already drawing the consequences. Online fashion retailer About You, which had included Kliemann’s masks in its range, has ceased sales for the time being. “We are currently reviewing the case internally to get an accurate picture of the facts,” a company spokeswoman told Wirtschaftswoche. As a first step, it was therefore decided to no longer offer the masks in stores.

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The German Sustainability Prize Foundation (DNP) also spoke on Friday afternoon. In the spring of 2020, the foundation awarded Kliemann a special award for his commitment to masks. This has now been removed from the contractor. “Because he used unfair methods and betrayed us with greenwashing,” the foundation said in a statement.

Viva con Agua is also investigating the allegations

Moreover, Kliemann could lose another partner. The entrepreneur has been working for several years with the NGO Viva con Agua, organizing fundraisers, for example. Viva con Agua is also currently investigating the allegations, as the organization announced upon request. However, it is still too early for concrete measures. “But of course the allegations in the room are significant and do not correspond to our ideas of entrepreneurial action.”

Update: Kliemann reports via video message

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