UK trustees 'recklessly sent cash to charity linked to Al Qaeda'
by Nicky Harley
Five trustees of Syria and Gaza relief group Human Aid mismanaged cash sent abroad to a charity linked to Al Qaeda, a UK watchdog has found.
The Charity Commission has described the trustees as "reckless" after the aid group sent more than £250,000 to a Turkish non-profit organisation, which UK police say had links to Al Qaeda.
In its report, the Commission laid out its concerns about the group it referred to as "NPO".
“The Commission’s concerns in relation to the NPO followed a disclosure to the Commission, from the police, which stated in its assessment the NPO was being used to provide support to Al-Qaeda aligned individuals in Syria,” it said.
However the body upgraded its investigation to a statutory inquiry after UK counterterrorism police seized $9,774 and £9,200 in cash from Human Aid officials at Heathrow Airport in July 2019, money that was allegedly destined for a different foreign recipient.
Police stopped the charity’s UK Director of Operations and two volunteers who said they were delivering aid to Gaza, but were unable to provide evidence of where the funds were due to go.
"The individuals told the police that the funds belonged to the charity and were intended for use in Gaza," the Charity Commission said.