FACT CHECK: Has George Soros Been Banned From Six Countries?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Editor

A viral Facebook post shared over 16,000 times claims billionaire George Soros “has been banned from 6 countries including his country of birth.”

Verdict: False

While some of Soros’ organizations and charities have been prevented from operating in certain countries, Soros himself has not been banned. A spokesperson for one of his organizations confirmed Soros has not been banned from any countries.

Fact Check:

Soros is the Hungarian-born billionaire who founded the Open Society Foundations, an organization that supports progressive causes around the world. Soros is often found at the center of baseless rumors, many of which accuse him of paying for protesters, per The Associated Press.

In recent weeks, social media users have been sharing posts claiming the philanthropist has been “banned from six countries, including his country of birth.” The claim appears to stem from an Oct. 1, 2019 YouTube video titled, “George Soros Now BANNED From 6 Nations,” that was shared by conservative YouTuber and podcaster Dr. Steve Turley. In the video, Turley names the Philippines, Hungary, Russia, Turkey, Poland and Pakistan as the six countries that allegedly banned Soros.

While some of his organizations are not allowed to operate in some of those countries, there is no evidence to suggest Soros himself has been banned from any of them. Laura Silber, the chief communications officer at OSF, said in an email to the Daily Caller News Foundation: “George Soros has not been banned from any country.” (RELATED: Does George Soros Own The Voting Technology Firm Smartmatic?)

Turley states that Soros was forced to cancel a planned humanitarian trip to the Philippines after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte placed a bounty on his head. That claim appears to have been taken from a bogus 2017 news article from NewsPunch, previously known as YourNewsWire, a website that has previously published misinformation. The DCNF didn’t find any credible media reports about Soros being banned from the Philippines, and the Filipino government has not issued a press release to that effect.

OSF said it was forced to shutter its operations in Hungary in 2018 after the government passed the “Stop Soros” law, which outlawed much of the work the group did with illegal immigrants in the country, CNBC reported. However, Soros is a Hungarian national, which under the Hungarian Fundamental Law means he “cannot be expelled from Hungary,” the international communications office for the Hungarian government told the DCNF in an email.

In 2015, the Russian government banned the OSF and the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation, another Soros-founded organization, after it was determined they constitute “a threat to the foundations of the constitutional system of the Russian Federation and the security of the state,” a translated press statement from Russia reads, per CNBC . But like in Hungary, there is no evidence the ban extends to Soros himself.

OSF similarly shut down its operations in Turkey in 2018. Reuters reported that the organization said it was not possible to work in the country anymore after OSF became the target of  “baseless claims” in the media and an investigation by the Turkish government into mass protests. The decision to move operations elsewhere appeared to be voluntary, and there is no reason to believe Soros himself is not allowed to enter the country.

The claim that Soros has been banned from Poland is likewise ill-informed. Turley’s evidence for the claim appears to be that Poland deemed Ukrainian human rights activist Lyudmyla Kozlovska a security threat and barred her from entering any of the countries in the European Union, according to Radio Free Europe. Turley refers to Kozlovska as a “top Soros organizer,” but there is no evidence that her or her organization, the Open Dialog Foundation, are officially affiliated with Soros or OSF.

“As we have pointed out repeatedly, ODF is financed due to various donations and grants from individuals, companies and institutions both from Poland and abroad,” the Open Dialogue Foundation website reads. “So far, there were no entities belonging to the Open Society Foundations network, or a different type of institution controlled by American philanthropist George Soros among them.” (RELATED: Does George Soros Own Two Sigma Investments?)

The government of Pakistan called for OSF, along with several other foreign-funded aid groups, to cease operations within the country in 2017, Reuters reported. However, the OSF website still lists an office in Islamabad, Pakistan, and there is no indication Soros is not allowed in Pakistan.

Despite Soros’ organizations being barred from operating in some countries, there is no evidence proving he is actually banned from any countries. We rate this claim false.

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Editor
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