The Charity Commission has revealed a five-year old ongoing class inquiry into eight linked Jewish charities following the sentencing of a Charedi fraudster in London last week.
Edward Cohen, from Stamford Hill, was an administrator of Chabad UK [unrelated to Chabad-Lubavitch UK] and sold counterfeit erectile dysfunction and slimming pills worth more than £10.3 million through several bank accounts linked to the charity.
He was jailed for nine years and nine months at Southwark Crown Court for money laundering, theft of funds given for charitable purposes, and supplying false information to the Commission. In April, he was also found guilty of benefit fraud totalling £233,000.
Following the outcome of the court case, the charity watchdog said it could now reveal its class inquiry into Chabad UK, Havenpoint Worldwide, Mamosh Worldwide, Or Simcha, Ozer Dalim, Pikuach Nefesh, Worldwide Hatzala and Havenpoint.
The Metropolitan Police said the charities are based in Stamford Hill, linked to Chabad UK and had bank accounts controlled by Cohen. Investigators say he was routing payments for the unlicensed pills through them.
“Between March 2012 and September 2014, nine companies of the Chabad UK group, seven of which were registered charities, processed over £10.3 million, a very small proportion of which were legitimate charitable donations,” the Met said.
“During the same period, £8.6 million was transferred to Foreign Exchange accounts, and £1.6 million was transferred to a number of Money Service Bureaus. Thousands of pounds were also transferred to the defendants’ personal accounts.”
The class inquiry, which is close to completion, is examining whether the charities were used as a conduit to launder the proceeds of crime, whether they used charitable funds for criminal purpose, and whether the other trustees personally benefited.
On the outcome of Cohen’s trial, the Commission’s head of investigations Amy Spiller said: “This case has involved a dishonest abuse of charity and we welcome the sentence.”
She added: “Charities exist to do good and strengthen society, so abuse of position of this kind has no place in charity. It is right that the individual has been held to account for his actions through the conviction.”
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.