An article claiming Albert Bourla - CEO of drugmaker Pfizer was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for 'deceiving customers on the effectiveness of the company's COVID-19 vaccine, is false and originated from a website known for creating fake stories.
The article by the Conservative Beaver, which describes itself as a Canadian conservative website, also falsely claimed that the police had ordered a 'media blackout' of the arrest.
Reuters fact checked the Conservative Beaver in November 2020 for claiming former US President Barack Obama was arrested for espionage and another article which falsely claimed George Soros was arrested for 'election interference'.
The false claim is viral on WhatsApp and Facebook and is being shared with the link of the article titled 'CEO of Pfizer arrested by the FBI, charged with fraud – media blackout as #PfizerGate trends.'
To bolster its false claim, the article has also included a tweet by the British Medical Journal on an investigation into the allegations made by a whistleblower questioning the integrity of the data in Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine trial.
BOOM received the message on its WhatsApp helpline with a request to verify the article.
The claim is also viral on Facebook.
The Conservative Beaver is known for publishing false stories and has been fact checked several times in the past for creating fictitious stories about the arrests of famous individuals disliked by conservatives. The site has been fact checked previously for falsely claiming the arrests of Barack Obama and George Soros.
The website cites an unnamed FBI agent as its source and falsely claims that Albert Bourla was arrested from his residence in New York on November 5, 2021. Furthermore, the article also falsely claims there was a media blackout ordered by the police.
BOOM did not find any credible news articles reporting Bourla's arrest.
In fact, on November 5, Bourla was seen at two events interacting with the media about a new pill manufactured by the pharmaceutical company that acts against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. He was in conversation with anchors of CNN and CNBC.
BOOM has reached out to Pfizer. The story will be updated upon receiving a response.
While a recent whistleblower has highlighted that the COVID-19 vaccine research trials had some mismanagement of data across all the phases of Pfizer's clinical trials, there is no evidence supporting the article's claim that Bourla was thus arrested for the same.
Pfizer Vaccine: Regulatory Oversight
This rumour and story is based on a recent publication by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) that speaks about how there was regulatory oversight in the production of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
A whistleblower from the company who shared this investigation with BMJ has added that the data integrity of the vaccine trials should also be questioned as there were instances of quality checks being overlooked at a research company that was sanctioned by Pfizer to conduct vaccine trials.
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