The State of Israel has arrested Mohammed El Halaby, the Gaza manager of World Vision, one of the world's largest Christian charities,and charged him with illegally transferring $43m to members of Hamas, of which he has been an undercover agent, since 2003. El Halaby, who diligently worked his way up to become managing director of World Vision's Gaza operations, was reportedly directed to penetrate the charity, and to siphon off millions of dollars in vital aid funds to Hamas, a specially designated global terrorist organization.
Some of deceptive methods El Halaby employed, to cover up the transfers to Hamas included:
(1) Paying "salaries' to Hamas militants, by falsely registering and carrying them as World Vision employees.
(2) Paying Hamas members, by falsely claiming that their children had been wounded and injured in one of the armed conflicts between Hamas and Israel.
(3) Inflating the costs of legitimate projects, and transferring the additional money to Hamas.
(4) Giving donations to bogus charities that were actually Hamas front entities.
(5) Paying Hamas members funds listed as having been paid out to aid beneficiaries that were actually ficticious.
Both Hamas and World Vision have denied that any funds were improperly diverted to Hamas, which will not comment on whether El Halaby was a Hamas agent. Australia and Germany, contributors of millions annually to World Vision, have announced publicly that they have terminated their donation programs, and other countries are expected to follow suit. Donors had the reasonable expectation that children would benefit from their money, not Hamas weapons purchasers, and tunnel builders.
Clearly, there was no effective audit system in place, and expenditures were never checked to ascertain whether the "recipients" claims and expenses were genuine, or whether they existed as all. Lastly, the managing director's terrorist affiliation should have been exposed a decade ago. World Vision's due diligence was obviously non-existent.
The takeaway here for compliance officers; any charity can be exploited by terrorist organizations, irrespective of its origin and stated purpose. All NGOs, nonprofits and charitable organizations are at risk for diversion, theft, or donee fraud, for the purpose of funding terrorists. the charity may actually not be aware of the scheme, but you as a compliance officer should always be sensitive to actions inconsistent with the general conduct of any NGO, nonprofit or charity; There may be terrorists at work.