Charity watchdog investigates woman over possible pro-Hamas news network funding

The Charity Commission is investigating a sanctioned woman over the possible misuse of charity donations to help fund a news agency that promotes the Hamas terrorist group.

The regulator said it had launched an inquiry into Aozma Sultana amid “serious concerns” that public donations meant for humanitarian aid in Gaza were instead providing financial support for Gaza Now.

Funds were raised by two companies, Aakhirah Limited and Al-Qureshi Executives – of which Ms Sultana is sole director –  that advertised a partnership with the news agency.

An appeal sought donations for emergency medication, food and shelter for those in need in the war-torn territory, the commission said.

Both the UK and US governments previously sanctioned and froze the assets of Ms Sultana and Mustafa Ayash using domestic counter-terrorism powers last month.

Ms Sultana is automatically disqualified from serving as a trustee or holding any senior management positions for any charity as part of these sanctions.

Established in 2006, Gaza Now is a news agency based in the Palestinian territory which has seen a growth in popularity since the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict in October.

It has been accused of taking a pro-Hamas stance on the conflict.

The inquiry will look at what activities undertaken by Ms Sultana or the companies are relevant to the commission, and how the charitable funds were raised and used to see whether they can be fully accounted for.

A report into the inquiry’s findings will be published in due course.

Ms Sultana and Gaza Now have been contacted for comment.