Altered magazine cover featuring Ukrainian president spreads online

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

Social media posts share an image that purportedly shows Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky riding a horse made of banknotes on the cover of Money, a US magazine. But no such cover was published; the image was altered from a 2016 issue, according to the magazine, which is now only available online.

"Corruption is strong for the liberals through the world," says a June 29, 2022 Facebook post.

The post includes an image of a purported cover of US finance magazine Money featuring Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. Teaser text says: "Learn How He's Laundering American Taxpayer Dollars."

Screenshot of a Facebook post taken July 11, 2022

Similar posts have been shared across social media, including on Twitter and Telegram, with caption text in Polish, German and Spanish.

But the cover is not authentic.

In the top-left corner of the image is a reference to the @FJBUSA Instagram account, which describes itself as "satire/parody." The account posted the cover with Zelensky on June 23, 2022.

@FJBUSA did not immediately reply to AFP's request for comment about the picture's origin.

A reverse image search revealed that no credible news sources have shared the alleged cover. It also does not appear on Money's website, nor on its Twitter or Facebook pages.

Money confirmed to AFP that it did not publish the cover.

Spokesperson Lixia Guo said in a July 8, 2022 email that "the cover was clearly redesigned by someone." She said the original cover, published in 2016, featured British comedian John Oliver, host of "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver."

The original 2016 cover of Money magazine, sent to AFP by the Money press office on July 7, 2022

Guo added that the last physical version of the magazine, which now only operates online, was published in June/July 2019.

AFP has fact-checked other false and misleading claims about Ukraine's president and the Russian invasion here.

Ukraine conflict