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Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during a meeting with Belarus' president in St.Petersburg, Russia, April 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky) Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during a meeting with Belarus' president in St.Petersburg, Russia, April 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during a meeting with Belarus' president in St.Petersburg, Russia, April 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

Amy Sherman
By Amy Sherman March 16, 2018

No proof that Putin issued arrest warrant for Soros

Billionaire George Soros is now officially a wanted man in Russia, a viral story would have you believe.

"Putin issues international arrest warrant for Soros," reads a March 10 headline on Viral Politics US.

The story smashes together work by Soros groups in Russia and quotes from a Rolling Stone article that have nothing to do with Soros to create an inaccurate hoax.

While Russia banned two Soros charities in 2015, we found no evidence that it issued a warrant for his arrest. Facebook users flagged the post as being potentially fabricated, as part of the social network’s efforts to combat online hoaxes. Similar hoaxes about Soros and Putin have circulated since November 2016.

Soros is a hedge fund manager who has supported liberal causes and backed Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. He has been the target of many online hoaxes, including that President Donald Trump declared Soros a "national security threat".

Viral Politics US stated that Russia declared Soros and his organizations a "threat to Russian national security."

That phrase is similar to the language used by Russian officials when they banned two Soros charities in 2015.

"It was found that the activity of the Open Society Foundations and the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation represents a threat to the foundations of the constitutional system of the Russian Federation and the security of the state," stated a translated version of a press statement by Russia's General Prosecutor's Office in November 2015.

The Viral Politics US story pulls actual quotes from a 2010 Rolling Stone article about Goldman Sachs including this quote: "The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money."

Although the Rolling Stone article makes no mention of Soros, the Viral Politics US story tries to create a connection by stating "obviously Soros wants to be like Goldman Sachs."

Viral Politics US then tosses in a quote by a man named Phil Butler: "George Soros has a finger in every political pie there is. If there is a crisis on our world, it’s a safe bet he’s had a hand in it,’" Viral Politics US wrote.

The online hoax provides no explanation about the identity of Butler, but we found the quote by Butler in an article for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook in July 2016. Butler described Soros as a "real arch villain" and accused Soros of manipulating the 2016 presidential election. Butler describes himself as an analyst and expert on Eastern Europe.

While there is no evidence that Putin sought a warrant to arrest Soros, the billionaire has been a major critic of the Russian president and said he believes that Putin has been behind the attacks on him.

In January while speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Soros said, "Open societies are in crisis, and various forms of dictatorships and mafia states, exemplified by Putin’s Russia, are on the rise."

In October 2016, Soros criticized Putin for Russia's bombing campaign in Syria calling on him to "put an end to his heinous crimes against humanity."

Viral Politics US wrote that "Putin issues international arrest warrant for Soros." While Russia banned two Soros charities in 2015, we found no evidence that Putin issued a warrant for the billionaire’s arrest.

We rate this headline Pants on Fire.

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No proof that Putin issued arrest warrant for Soros

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