BLM organizer denies fraud charges related to Colston protest

A Black Lives Matter promoter has denied fraud charges regarding fundraising pages set up during the Bristol demonstration that resulted in a statue of Edward Colston being toppled in the city’s harbor.

Xahra Saleem, 22, from Briars Walk, Romford, east London, appeared in Bristol Magistrates Court on Tuesday on two counts of fraudulent misconduct.

The Colston statue was pushed into the port of Bristol on June 7, 2020, during protests in the US over the death of George Floyd and the ensuing global BLM movement.

Given that Saleem was one of the organizers of the protest, and given that it took place during the Covid-19 pandemic, he is said to have set up a crowdfunding page to raise money for face masks and other equipment to help legally facilitate the march. .

An agreement is said to have been made that the excess funds will go to Change Your Mindset Ltd., a Bristol-based charity.

After the worldwide protest, the page raised tens of thousands of pounds, but none of the money allegedly went to charity.

Xahra Saleem court case

Xahra Saleem, 22, denies the charges against her (Ben Birchall/PA)

The defendant is also said to have set up a fundraising page to raise money for the legal costs of those facing charges after the protest.

These funds are said to have not been delivered yet.

The charges say that on June 24, 2020, 15 High Ground, Tadpole Garden Village, Swindon, Wiltshire, Saleem committed fraud while serving as principal, in a position where he was expected to maintain or not act against his finances. In the interests of Change Your Mindset Ltd, he dishonestly abused this situation for profit, ie he used the funds raised for him in violation of sections 1 and 4 of the Fraud Act 2006.

Later on 29 June 2020, at the same address, Saleem dishonestly abused that position while occupying a position as an organizer who was expected to protect or not act against the financial interests of ABL Bristol. so you used funds collected for yourself in order to make a profit, i.e. in violation of sections 1 and 4 of the Fraud Act 2006.

Saleem appeared in court wearing a black veil and a long navy blue trench coat, and spoke only to confirm his name, address, and date of birth and to plead not guilty.

District Judge Lynne Matthews told the defendant that due to the seriousness of the case, it should be addressed in royal court.

Saleem will next appear at Bristol Crown Court on January 30, 2023.

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