Bizarre reason $30k fundraiser for drowned woman shut down
Friends of a Melbourne woman who drowned on the Gold Coast have been left further distressed after a GoFundMe campaign to send her body home to Russia was suddenly suspended amid concerns it could breach US sanctions.
The online fundraiser was launched after personal trainer Julia Boiko, 29, and her friend, Gold Coast gym manager Jake Jacobs, 32, drowned during a late night swim at Broadbeach last Thursday.
Friends in Australia's Russian community started the campaign to get Ukrainian-born Ms Boiko's body flown to Russia where her mother lives, and to help pay for funeral costs.
It had raised almost $30,000 when it was abruptly shut down by GoFundMe this week.
In an email to campaign organiser Helena Santi, a GoFundMe compliance official said the fundraiser had been suspended because 'you may be raising funds for a cause that is in or connected to a location currently facing sanctions by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Department of the Treasury'.
Ms Santi begged GoFundMe not to delete the fundraiser in a follow-up email but the compliance official responded that it breached the platform's 'prohibited conduct' policies.
An upset Ms Santi told Facebook followers she had spoken with lawyers and in the meantime, a bank account had been opened to take donations.
A public memorial for Ms Boiko is planned to be held at Melbourne's Springvale Botanical Memorial Park next weekend.
The US has imposed economic and diplomatic sanctions against Russia over its annexation of Crimea and aggression against Ukraine.
Originally published as Bizarre reason $30k fundraiser shut down