UK watchdog raised concern over Qatar-linked charity 

Qatar Charity, based in Doha, was blacklisted by Saudi Arabia and the UAE over its links to terror groups. (AFP/File photo)
Updated 19 August 2019

UK watchdog raised concern over Qatar-linked charity 

  • Nectar Trust, then known as Qatar Charity UK, funded projects highlighted by mother organization in Doha
  • Nectar Trust was formerly run by Yousef Al-Kuwari, a Qatari official who remains as chief executive of blacklisted Qatar Charity

LONDON: The UK charities watchdog warned about the “independence” of a British organization over its links to a Qatari group blacklisted as a terror organization by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The Charity Commission intervened in 2015 when it found Qatar Charity UK was receiving almost all its funding from the Qatar Charity Qatar (QCQ), The Sunday Telegraph reported.

Qatar Charity UK, which later changed its name to Nectar Trust, was also funding projects “identified by QCQ,” according to a compliance report.

QCQ has been linked with the Muslim Brotherhood and was listed as a supporter of terrorism by the group of Arab countries that boycotted Qatar in 2017 over its links and support for extremist groups.

An investigation by French journalists found the Nectar Trust was allegedly used to fund multimillion-pound Brotherhood-linked projects in Britain and France. 

The UK organization received £28 million from QCQ in 2017.

In the 2015 report, the Charity Commission raised concerns that all the trustees were linked to QCQ. The report also said Israel had banned the QCQ over its support for an organization that backs Hamas.

Nectar Trust was formerly run by Yousef Al-Kuwari, a Qatari official who remains as chief executive of QCQ.

He founded Islamweb, a website that has posted edicts encouraging Muslims to hate Jews and Christians.

Nectar Trust describes itself as a charity that aims to relieve poverty and help those caught up in war or natural disasters.

Charities Commission guidance states that while charities in the UK may be set up and funded by a connected non-charity, they must operate independently and cannot exist “for the purposes of the other organisation”.

 

A spokesperson for the commission said: “Trustees are under a duty to always act in the best interests of their charity, and ensure that any conflicts of interest are managed appropriately, and in line with our guidance.

"Our report into the charity in 2015 outlined issues for the charity to consider at the time. We do not have an active case into the Nectar Trust.”


France to press to drop Sudan from US terror blacklist

Updated 59 min 7 sec ago

France to press to drop Sudan from US terror blacklist

  • Jean-Yves Le Drian is the second top western diplomat to visit Sudan this month
  • SUNA says Le Drian will meet with Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, the head of the newly appointed Sovereign Council

KHARTOUM: French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Monday that France will press to drop Sudan from the US blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism and to support efforts to reintegrate the country into the international community.
Le Drian was in Khartoum for a one-day visit, the first such trip to Sudan by France's top diplomat in more than a decade.
His visit comes as the northeast African country transitions to civilian rule after decades of authoritarianism.
"We will use our influence to ensure that Sudan is removed from this list," Le Drian said at a joint press conference with his Sudanese counterpart Asma Mohamed Abdalla after the two held talks.
"It is the way to ensure that we can consider a new relationship (for Sudan) with financial institutions, everything is obviously linked," he said, asked by AFP if France would back efforts to remove Sudan from Washington's blacklist.
Decades of US blacklisting along with a trade embargo imposed on Sudan in 1997 has kept overseas investors away from the country, in turn isolating it from the global economy.
Sudan's worsening economic situation was the key trigger for nationwide protests that finally led to the ouster of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir in April.
Washington lifted the sanctions in October 2017, but kept Sudan in the terrorism list along with North Korea, Iran and Syria.
Washington's measures were imposed for Khartoum's alleged support for Islamist militant groups.
Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden resided in Sudan between 1992 and 1996.
Le Drian said the pivotal role played by Sudan's army in the uprising against Bashir would help in removing Sudan from the US blacklist.
"The way the army perceived its role during this period, (that) goes in the direction of removing Sudan from this list," he said.
The army overthrew Bashir in a palace coup on April 11 on the back of months of nationwide protests.
But a military council seized power after ousting him and for months resisted calls from protesters to transfer it to a civilian administration.
Only last month after sustained agitation, a joint civilian-military sovereign council was sworn in to oversee Sudan's transition to civilian rule, the key demand of protesters.
On September 8, Sudan's first cabinet led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was sworn in to run the daily affairs of the country.
During his short visit to Khartoum, Le Drian also met Hamdok and General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of the civilian-military ruling council.
Le Drian also reiterated French support for Sudan's priorities such as rebuilding the economy and striking peace agreements with rebel groups in conflict zones of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.