Regulator probes sanctioned business owner’s fundraising over ‘pro-Hamas’ links

19 Apr 2024 News

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Civil Society Media

The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into fundraising activity by a sanctioned business owner over alleged “links to a pro-Hamas media outlet”.

It will investigate funds raised for charitable purposes by and on behalf of Aozma Sultana, the regulator announced today.

Sultana was sanctioned by the UK government following suspected involvement in providing financial support for Gaza Now, “a news agency that promotes Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad”.

The government placed santions on Sultana last month, which means her name appears on the UK Sanctions List and all funds and economic resources in the UK belonging to or controlled by her have been frozen.

This also means no UK person may make available funds, economic resources and financial services to her or for her benefit, or to any of the companies or organisations she owns or controls – either over the course of doing business with them or otherwise.

Sultana is now automatically disqualified from being a trustee or holding a senior management position in a charity.

Joint fundraiser for Gaza Now

The Commission adds that two companies, of which Sultana is sole director, appear to have partnered with Gaza Now to raise funds to provide humanitarian support for those in need in Gaza.

Its investigations team is also considering information published by the US Treasury, which has stated that the two companies have given thousands of dollars to Gaza Now.

The US Treasury has stated that the same companies advertised Gaza Now as a partner during a joint fundraiser, which started shortly after Hamas’ 7 October attack on Israel.

The Commission said it has “serious concerns that the funds raised may not have been used for their intended purposes and may have been misappropriated”.

It said the fundraising appeal sought donations from the public for emergency medication, food and shelter to help those in need but is suspected of funding Gaza Now.

The regulator said it seeks to determine what activities undertaken by Sultana or Aakhirah Limited and Al-Qureshi Executives fall within its jurisdiction.

It will also investigate how charitable funds have been raised and used to ascertain if these funds can be fully accounted for.

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