A little more than eight months after former British army officer and military contractor, then 43-year-old James Le Mesurier, who co-founded the shadowy 'White Helmets' (known as Syria Civil Defence), committed suicide, a new report details how he defrauded Mayday Rescue. This organization fundraised from Western countries to support the anti-government rescue group in Syria.
RT News quotes a report via Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant, who says Le Mesurier informed an accountant during an audit that he "forged receipts" for tens of thousands of dollars. At the time, he listed the funds as lined items to support efforts in evacuations for refugees in war-torn Syria, though the money was actually expensed for his lavish 2018 wedding.
Le Mesurier was paid a generous salary of €24,000 ($27,414) per month. It was noted he issued loans to his wife, former diplomat Emma Winberg, using funds from the organization.
The accountant, instructed by Western countries to investigate Mayday, found "tens of thousands of dollars in cash" were used to pay for Le Mesurier's "fairytale wedding."
Shortly afterward, a number of countries that had donated to Mayday demanded an accountant have another look over the organization's books. According to De Volkskrant, this probe found that most of Mayday's financial records are "missing." Donations were not just handed to the organization in Amsterdam and forwarded to Syria, but distributed through a network of commercial organizations in Turkey and Dubai. -RT
A Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs' 2018 report showed Mayday received $127 million from mostly Western state donors between 2014 and 2018.
Le Mesurier's White Helmets promote themselves as 'first responders' to emergencies in Syria, the group has been accused of staging multiple chemical attacks - including an April 2018 incident in Duma, Syria, which the White House used as a pretext to bomb Syrian government facilities and bases.
White Helmets have been accused of partnering with Al-Qaeda and even seen operating in rebel-held territory.
At the time of the audit, Le Mesurier wrote a letter to donors explaining the mishap but maintained the fraud was not committed on purpose.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said last November that Le Mesurier's death was no suicide, suggesting he was killed because he "knew major secrets."
For more color on the questionable suicide of Le Mesurier, read: "Narrative Managers Claim White Helmets Founder Was Driven To Suicide By Syria Skeptics."