Zurich judicial authorities have confirmed they are investigating an online fundraising company accused of stealing millions of dollars intended for charities, including the Geneva-based International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
According to Irish media cited by AFP, the boss of the company is called Peter Conlon and the fundraising platform, Ammado. The Irishman, who is resident in Zurich, is also under investigation in his homeland over his fundraising activities.
A statement from the Zurich prosecutor’s officeexternal link said on Thursday that the head of the fundraising company had been in custody since December 24 after being arrested at Zurich airport two days earlier. The company’s headquarters in Zug were searched on the same day as the arrest and evidence seized.
A criminal investigation had been opened on October 20 for "embezzlement" and "disloyal management", the prosecutor’s office added.
The statement said evidence so far suggested that “several million Swiss francs” in donations were not passed on to the charities and NGOs concerned. However, it added that “the presumption of innocence applies”.
The IFRC said in a separate statement on Fridayexternal link that it was "one of a number of non-profit organizations owed money by the online donation provider, Ammado AG".
"Ammado AG has failed to pay approximately 1.8 million Swiss francs ($1.9 million) donated via its platform to IFRC and to a number of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world," it said.
The IFRC said it filed a criminal complaint with the Swiss authorities against Ammado in September after repeated unsuccessful attempts to secure the funds.