The British woman charged with raising tens of thousands of dollars under false pretences that she worked for the Black Lives Matter movement has denied the charges, court documents reveal.
Xahra Saleem appeared at a London court early January and entered “not guilty” to two charges of fraud. In the first charge, she has been accused of setting up a crowdfunding page to raise money for face masks during the onset of the pandemic. On the second count, deputies say that “she committed fraud in that, while occupying a position, namely ‘organizer’, in which you were expected to safeguard, or not to act against, the financial interests…she dishonestly abused that position intending thereby to make a gain, namely used the funds raised, for yourself” in relation to the Black Lives Matter movement.
The charges further went on to state that she used a fake address when collecting the funds: an address in the local town of Swindon, while her present address is in Essex.
“The charges relate to money raised in two online fundraisers, one set up before the All Black Lives protest on June 7, 2020, which saw the statue of Edward Colston toppled in Bristol city center, to cover the costs of Covid PPE mitigation equipment, with any excess funds pledged to go to St Pauls youth group Changing Your Mindset,” according to a Bristol Post report. “The second fundraiser was set up in the aftermath of that protest with the aim of raising funds for anyone arrested or prosecuted by police for that act.”
Saleem is expected to appear before District Judge Lynne Matthews on January 30. Neither she nor her legal representation has commented on the case.
This story is developing.
“Since receiving $100 million plus in funding in 2016, the Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of organizations and groups aimed to set a collective strategic policy agenda to create racial equity for Black people across the United States, has come under increased scrutiny regarding property purchases and potential financial mismanagement within the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation,” according to The Brookings Institution. While these incidents should be investigated and any impropriety addressed legally, financially, and organizationally, some people are using these incidents to question their own commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement.”