Naomi Campbell’s aide quits her embattled charity Fashion For Relief as it faces misconduct inquiry
One of Naomi Campbell’s key aides at her embattled fashion charity has dramatically quit, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
News of the departure of heiress Veronica Chou emerged just hours after the Charity Commission announced that it had launched a formal probe into possible ‘misconduct’ at Fashion For Relief.
The Mail on Sunday exposed troubling questions about the charity this year when official accounts showed that during a 15-month period it lavished more than £1.6 million on a glittering gala in Cannes, but gave just £5,000 to good causes.
Trustees: Veronica Chou helped to run Fashion For Relief with model Naomi Campbell. It is now being investigated
In a move deeply embarrassing to Ms Campbell, the Charity Commission said it would look into payments made by Fashion For Relief to its three trustees – the 51-year-old supermodel, London socialite and lawyer Bianka Hellmich and Ms Chou, the heiress to a £2 billion Hong Kong textile fortune.
In a statement last night, Fashion For Relief said it was ‘fully co-operating’ with the Charity Commission, adding: ‘Any suggestion of wrong-doing or misconduct on the part of the trustees is untrue and denied.’
The investigation comes just two months after Ms Campbell, who is worth a reported £45 million, was appointed global ambassador for the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust Platinum Jubilee celebrations next year.
Charity Commission forensic accountants will examine Fashion For Relief’s 2018-19 accounts, which show Ms Hellmich was paid £77,000 for her trustee role. Accounts for the previous year showed £107,000 had been paid in ‘trustee fees’.
The probe will also ask why the charity has failed to file statutory annual accounts on time. Its 2020 filing is more than 180 days late.
Ms Chou, 36, was listed among Fashion For Relief’s trustees on Thursday when the Charity Commission announced its probe, but her name had been removed by Friday.
Mad hatter: Fashion For Relief is facing a statutory inquiry by the Charity Commission, which will look at possible misconduct and mismanagement
Charity founder: The charity watchdog has launched a formal investigation into Naomi Campbell’s fashion charity over concerns about its management and finances, it emerged last night
Her 2012 wedding to Russian businessman Evgeny Klyucharev was attended by 1,500 people, including the Duchess of York and Princess Beatrice, and she was a regular fixture in society columns until 2017 when lurid claims about her marriage were made in a London court.
The couple had accused their chauffeur of stealing a £167,000 diamond ring. However, after he insisted he was given it to sell ‘to pay for prostitutes and drugs’ for Mr Klyucharev, they dropped the charges.
Court papers obtained by the MoS reveal diamond dealer Illuminex is suing Ms Chou for fraud. It had bought the ring, but was forced to return it after the alleged theft went to court.