Saturday 24 March 2018

Probe into finances of hip-hop star's charity

Guy Adams

Wyclef Jean, (pictured right) the hip-hop artist and former candidate for the presidency of Haiti, has said he was "committed to ensuring that things are made right" amid news of a criminal investigation into the finances of his personal charity.

The musician's lawyer confirmed that Jean's Haitian aid organisation, Yele, went out of business in August, leaving a trail of legal disputes and unpaid debts.

Regulators in the US, where it was registered, are now attempting to establish how the NGO spent $16m (€12.3m) in donations in just over two years.

A report in yesterday's 'New York Times' alleged that much of the money was spent on administration, public relations and consultants, or was funnelled to businesses owned by friends and relations of Jean.

In one mysterious transaction, detailed in Yele's tax returns, the singer's brother-in-law was given $600,000 (€463,000) for helping with the "rebuilding of Haiti".

In 2010, the charity devoted more than half of its $9m budget to travel, salaries, consultant fees and expenses related to its property portfolio.

It spent $37,000 to rent space at a recording studio owned by Jean, and $375,000 went on "landscaping" for its offices.

Yele was founded in 2004 by Jean, who spent much of his childhood in Haiti. (© Independent News Services)

Irish Independent

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