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.

Fashion For Relief will be subject to a Charity Commission statutory inquiry. This investigation will examine possible misconduct and mismanagement.

To alleviate child poverty, and improve health and education worldwide, the foundation was established by 51-year-old supermodel from London. 

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

It claims to have raised more than $15million dollars (£11.25million) since its foundation in 2005 – mostly through glitzy fundraising events.

However, The Mail on Sunday revealed earlier this year that the charity spent more than £1.6million on a spectacular fundraising gala in Cannes yet gave only £5,000 to good causes over a 15-month period including the show.

As part of the watchdog’s investigation, Fashion For Relief trustees have been restricted from making some financial transactions ‘to protect the charity’s property’.

The trustee expense list was large in the last published account. Bianka Hellmich, a partner and head of international clients at legal firm QCL Associates, was paid £77,000 in consultancy fees and £15,942 in travel expenses. 

Mad hatter: Fashion For Relief is facing a statutory inquiry by the Charity Commission, which will look at possible misconduct and mismanagement

Mad hatter: Fashion For Relief is facing a statutory inquiry by the Charity Commission, which will look at possible misconduct and mismanagement

The previous year, the charity spent £107,000 on trustees’ fees and £23,025 on expenses.

The watchdog’s investigation will consider whether Miss Campbell and fellow trustees ‘have properly exercised their legal duties and responsibilities under charity law’ and will look at potential mismanagement. 

These include failures to file the statutory annual accounts within the deadline and other questions regarding the finances of the charity.

This supermodel is also one of the three trustees, along with Miss Hellmich (Veronica Sylvia Wing Au Chou)

 A glamorous event in Cannes in May 2018 to raise money for Time’s Up, an organisation supporting women in the workplace after the #MeToo movement, was attended by celebrities including US heiress Paris Hilton and former French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s model wife Carla Bruni. 

Miss Campbell walked the catwalk with model friends such as Erin O’Connor and Natalia Vodianova.

Accounts lodged with the Charity Commission covering the period from April 2018 to July 2019 show that charges for the event ran to almost £1.5million, with an additional £43,000 spent on a fashion team, £18,000 on an operations director, and more than £57,500 on public relations. 

This brought the total expenditure to more than £1.6million.

During the same 15-month period, Fashion For Relief handed just £5,515 to good causes, according to the accounts. 

Time’s Up told the Mail on Sunday that three years later it had not received any funds directly from Fashion For Relief since the Cannes event. 

Responding, the charity argued that it was inappropriate to view its most recent accounts in isolation. Later filings would give a better picture. 

But the charity’s 2020 accounts are now almost 180 days overdue.

It has only filed its accounts on time once in the past five years, according to the Charity Commission’s online register.

Fashion For Relief has previously said that it does not operate like most charities, instead acting as a ‘third party’ to connect donors with the good causes it works with.

Catwalk queen: The foundation was set up by the London-born supermodel, 51, to relieve child poverty and advance health and education around the world

Catwalk queen: The foundation was set up by the London-born supermodel, 51, to relieve child poverty and advance health and education around the world

The charity’s last set of published accounts show that in the year to July 2019 it raised £1.7million, mostly through sponsorships.

The charity was previously the subject of a compliance case since September 2020, which raised ‘a range of regulatory concerns’, including consistent late filing of accounts and lack of evidence to show that conflicts of interest were being managed.

The Charity Commission said it issued trustees with an action plan in March this year but has now escalated the issue into a full inquiry – its most serious level of investigation.

Fashion For Relief hosts many glamorous galas to raise funds for their causes. Its first show raised funds for victims of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. 

The charity partnered with Sadiq Khan’s Mayor’s Fund For London in 2019 to provide skills and training to young people from low income backgrounds.

Its website does not reveal how much money was raised at the event but proudly displays media cuttings from Vogue, Elle and other fashion magazines which report how Miss Campbell is ‘saving the world one fashion show at a time’.

Fashion For Relief spokeswoman was unavailable last night.