Press release

Charity removed and trustees disqualified following terrorism investigation

Charity regulator publishes findings of its statutory inquiry

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The Charity Commission has published a report detailing the findings of its statutory inquiry into Anatolia People’s Cultural Centre.

The Commission opened an inquiry into the charity on 22 April 2016 after information was shared with the Commission, by the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command, following the arrest of one of the charity’s then trustees on suspicion of offences under the Terrorism Act 2006. The police also made the Commission aware that the charity’s premises had been searched resulting in the seizure of funds, and that following the search the premises were subject to a temporary closure order.

The Commission announced the opening of the inquiry on 19 June 2017 after the trustee was found not guilty of 2 counts of disseminating terrorist publications relating to a proscribed group at London’s Central Criminal Court.

In addition to the arrest, cash seizure and closure order, the Commission had a number of regulatory concerns relating to the management and administration of the charity by the trustees including the lack of a bank account despite receiving donations, failure to correspond with the Commission and the trustees failure to ensure statutory returns were filed.

The inquiry concluded that the charity was mismanaged by its trustees for a number of reasons as set out in the report.

The police’s investigation identified images and items with explicit links to the Revolutionary Peoples’ Liberation Party/Front (‘DHKP-C’), a proscribed terrorist organisation, on display at the charity’s premises. The inquiry concluded that allowing such inappropriate and unacceptable images to be displayed at the charity’s premises would lead an ordinary member of the public to infer that the charity supported what was displayed at the premises and endorsed acts of terrorism and/or extremism.

Michelle Russell, the Charity Commission’s Director of Investigations, Monitoring, and Enforcement said:

The association of any charity with terrorism and/or extremism is wholly unacceptable. The role of charity trustees is to protect their charities from abuse of this kind and the trustees’ failure to do this or to cooperate with the regulator is evidence that they are unfit to act as charity trustees.

As was the case here, we work closely with the police and other authorities to tackle the threats that terrorism and extremism pose to charities, their beneficiaries and their work.

The inquiry concluded that the charity had ceased to operate following the closure order and the charity was removed from the register on 6 September 2017. Prior to this and as a result of the various failings all of the individuals recorded as trustees of the charity were removed or disqualified by the Commission and are as a result banned from serving as charity trustees in the future.

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. The Charity Commission is the regulator of charities in England and Wales. To find out more about our work see the about us page on GOV.UK.
  2. Search for charities on our online register.
  3. The DHKP-C (Devrimci Halk Kurtulus Partisi – Cephesi) aims to establish a Marxist-Leninist regime in Turkey by means of armed revolutionary struggle. It was proscribed in March 2001.
  4. The consequence of disqualification/removal under the Charities Act 2011 is disqualification from being a trustee of any other charity without a waiver from disqualification from the Commission or the courts. It is an offence to act as a trustee whilst disqualified.
  5. The Charity’s former trustees who were disqualified under section 181A of the Charities Act 2011, were disqualified for a period of 10 years. The maximum period is 15 years.
Published 1 March 2018