Lauren Booth, the sister-in-law of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, addresses a mass anti-war demonstration
Cherie Blair’s half-sister’s Muslim charity faces closure just four years after it was launched.
The Charity Commission has served a dissolution notice on Peace Trail with a view to removing it from its register. Lauren Booth, who converted to Islam in 2010, set up Peace Trail in 2013 with her husband, Sohale Ahmed, to help poor Muslims.
However, last year the Charity Commission launched an investigation after the charity failed to file any accounts since its inception. The Commission identified ‘serious regulatory concerns’ over more than £70,000 of spending and the channelling of funds through a bank account belonging to a company controlled by Booth’s husband.
The statutory inquiry is still ongoing. Peace Trail helps Muslims in need in England, Occupied Palestinian Territories and Pakistan. Shortly after its launch at Hilton Docklands hotel in London, which raised over £50,000 in donations, Booth embarked on a fundraising tour, speaking at events in Burnley, Rochdale, Middlesbrough and Birmingham.
Peace Trail, which employs one member of staff, finally filed accounts in March this year.
The unaudited accounts disclose that in 2013 income received was £86,579 and spending was £88,358.
In 2014, income received was £151,953 and spending was £151,580 (this included a £49,126 consultancy fee).
Booth, the sister-in-law of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, trained as an actress before switching to the media world and appeared as a contestant on the reality television programme I’m A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out Of Here!
In 2008, she became active in Palestinian issues after spending time in Gaza and converted to Islam two years later.
She was soon dressing her two daughters by her ex-husband Craig Darby in hijabs and advertised for a Muslim husband on Facebook.
She wed Ahmed in 2013.
Booth, 50, is also a patron of rights group Cage, which called ISIS exectioner Mohammed Emwazi, aka Jihadi John, ‘beautiful’.
The Charity Commission tells me: ‘This action is not directly linked to the investigation — it’s not a sanction.
The regulations governing CIO [charitable incorporated organisations] require us to dissolve a CIO when we have reasonable cause to believe it is not in operation.’
The charity was unavailable for comment