The fashion charity created by the ’90s top model, Naomi Campbell, has been the subject of a formal investigation by the charity watchdog for malpractice issues related to its management and finances.
Campbell created Fashion for Relief in 2005 to raise money for children living in poverty and adversity around the world, and has raised millions over the years for good causes through its annual charity fashion show.
The Charity Commission will examine whether Campbell and his fellow trustees “have adequately exercised their legal duties and responsibilities under charity law,” and will investigate payments made by the charity to one of its trustees.
You will also look at charity expenses and the management of Fashion for Relief by its trustees, including possible misconduct and mismanagement and failure to submit legal annual accounts on time.
Campbell is one of the three administrators of Fashion for Relief, along with Bianka Hellmich and Veronica Sylvia Wing Wai Au Chou. They are all listed as trustees of the charity since 2015.
Fashion for Relief has been organizing flashy fashion fundraisers for its charity partners for years. In 2019, it partnered with the Sadiq Khan Mayor’s Fund for London to support low-income youth with skills and training.
A London Fashion Week show was held in September of that year at the British Museum with a fashion show, a gala dinner and an art auction. Celebrities in attendance included Campbell, Naomie Harris, Pierce Brosnan, Skepta, and Alexa Chung.
The charity has yet to release its 2020 accounts, which are more than 178 days overdue according to the Charity Commission’s online log. The latest set of published accounts from the charity shows that in the year to July 2019 it raised £ 1,722,000, mostly through endorsements.
According to the accounts, £ 1,606,000 of that was spent on a charity event and paying for public relations and other staff. It appears that only £ 5,515 has been donated to good causes.
The 2019 accounts also reveal unusually large trustee expenses. Hellmich received £ 77,000 in consulting fees and £ 15,942 in travel expenses. The previous year, the charity spent £ 107,000 on trustees’ fees and £ 23,000 on expenses.
The Charity Commission for England has been in private discussions with Fashion for Relief for over a year about what it called a “Series of regulatory concerns”, including late submission of accounts, potential conflicts of interest, and weaknesses around financial controls.
The commission has now escalated what had been a compliance issue in a full investigation, its most serious level of investigation, suggesting that the regulator has been unable to address its concerns.
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