Money laundering and fraud allegations: Michael Ballweg is in custody – Stuttgart

Lateral thinking founder Michael Ballweg at the Stuttgart demonstration: Now the prosecutor is investigating a Stuttgart entrepreneur. Photo: Lichtgut / Julian Rettig (archive)

Investigating body accuses founder of lateral thinkers of fraud and money laundering. This is a large sum.

The head of lateral thinkers has become the target of the judiciary: on Wednesday around 7.00 there were nearly 20 criminal police officers in front of Michael Ballweg and another suspect’s door. Both are under investigation for fraud and money laundering charges. On Wednesday, police also searched two apartments and utility rooms of an IT entrepreneur in Stuttgart. The prosecution applied for an arrest warrant against Ballweg. The judge put this into practice in the late afternoon and Ballweg was arrested.

Ballweg revived 711’s lateral thinking in the spring of 2020. He criticized conservation measures to contain the crown pandemic. He was successful in a lawsuit against the ban on assembly imposed by the city of Stuttgart. Even then, he did not give up and continued to demonstrate. According to the prosecution, he reportedly started collecting money for the project in May 2020. According to the investigating body, he is said to have “misused” for himself “the higher six-figure sum” of this money allocated to the lateral thinking movement. In doing so, he deceived the donors as to their destiny. The prosecution therefore investigated him and another suspect due to the initial suspicion of money laundering and fraud. Once the investigators had accumulated sufficient suspicion, the prosecution requested a search warrant which the judge granted. Thus, the police entered private and service premises on Wednesday. Evidence was allegedly confiscated there. However, researchers do not reveal what it is about. The investigation continued and the evidence had to be assessed, according to the prosecutor.

Allegations of fraud and money laundering

Attorney Ralf Ludwig, who is also active on the scene, counters the allegations on the Telegram social media platform. It assumes that “the charges are constructed in order to be able to prosecute allegedly leading figures against state violence. We expect that, as with other totalitarian regimes, more critics will be intimidated in this way. ” Attempts to reach Ballweg’s lawyer failed on Wednesday.

Lateral thinkers have been criticized many times. Among other things, Ballweg has already been investigated for violations of the right to assembly. In the fall of 2020, Baden-Württemberg also placed the movement under surveillance by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, as there were allegedly repeated contacts with leading representatives of the “Reichsbürger” scene. Ballweg has always opposed this and insisted that his movement is completely apolitical. Ken Jebsen, the conspiracy theorist, spoke at his demonstrations. During a demonstration in a castle garden, security guards took the Holocaust denier Nikolai Nerling over the barrier and hugged him.

The Ballwega Initiative found many followers across Germany in the summer of 2020 who also called themselves lateral thinking and had the area code of the appropriate location in the title. The traffic has died down recently, also because there are currently hardly any restrictions against the coronavirus.

However, Ballweg only spoke up in April and said he saw no reason to end the protests. The head of side thinkers told the dpa news agency that the movement is not demonstrating against measures to protect against the crown, but “for the complete restoration of our fundamental rights.” It sees that this is permanently threatened by restrictions designed to contain the pandemic. However, the situation has remained quiet in recent weeks and months.

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