The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has opened a statutory inquiry into Friends of Biala Limited (registered charity number 271377). The inquiry was opened on 7 January 2015.
The charity has general charitable objects and, in practice, provides and fosters religious education in accordance with the Orthodox Jewish faith, and promotes the relief of poverty.
The inquiry has only been made public now as the regulator had to make further investigative enquiries, including in relation to the financial management of the charity before informing the trustees that an inquiry had been opened.
The regulator is investigating concerns about the charity’s financial management and governance in connection with loans and invested funds in properties in the USA which appear to have resulted in losses to the charity of around £1.7 million.
The inquiry will examine whether the trustees discharged their duties and responsibilities as charity trustees, in particular their responsibilities when making investments on behalf of the charity and whether conflicts of interest were properly managed. The inquiry will also examine whether there has been breach of trust by the trustees in relation to their legal duties.
The commission stresses that opening an inquiry is not in itself a finding of wrong doing. The purpose of an inquiry is to examine issues in detail and investigate and establish the facts so that the regulator can ascertain whether there has been misconduct or mismanagement; establish the extent of the risk to the charity’s property, beneficiaries or work; decide what action needs to be taken to resolve the serious concerns, if necessary using its investigative, protective and remedial powers to do so.
It is the commission’s policy, after it has concluded an inquiry, to publish a report detailing what issues the inquiry looked at, what actions were undertaken as part of the inquiry and what the outcomes were. Reports of previous inquiries by the commission are available on GOV.UK.
The charity’s details can be viewed on the commission’s online charity search tool.
Notes to editors
The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales.
- Our mission is to be the independent registrar and regulator of charities in England and Wales, acting in the public’s interest, to ensure that:
* charities know what they have to do
* the public know what charities do
* charities are held to account
- Section 46 of the Charities Act 2011 gives the Charity Commission the power to institute inquiries. The opening of an inquiry gives the commission access to a range of protective and remedial powers.
- The commission’s decision to announce the opening of a statutory inquiry is based on whether it is in the public interest to do so and with consideration of our objective to increase public trust and confidence in charities.