The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has opened a statutory inquiry into The Reb Moishe Foundation (charity registration number 1106737). The charity is based in North London and has general charitable objects.
The commission had been engaging with the charity as part of an operational compliance case since December 2014, when HMRC raised concerns about a £2 million loan facility made in 2006 by the charity to a company, which the charity’s current sole trustee is now a director. The charity’s accounts for December 2013 show £2,326,401 is owed to the charity by the company.
The commission’s compliance case uncovered other concerns in connection with the loan, including that the company to which the loan was made is reportedly running at a significant deficit and that the interest payable to the charity on the loan has also been reduced. The commission is also concerned about an apparent lack of charitable expenditure, contradictory information provided in the charity’s accounts, and the fact that the trustee board is currently inquorate.
Given these concerns the commission opened a statutory inquiry.
The issues the inquiry is examining include:
loans made by the charity and whether these were in furtherance of the charity’s objects
trustee(s) decision making in connection with the loan to a connected company, and whether the trustee(s) acted in the charity’s best interests
whether the trustee(s) received unauthorised private benefits and whether conflicts of interest have been properly managed
whether the trustees(s) have complied with legal duties in relation to management and control of the administration of the charity
Since opening its inquiry, the commission has used its legal power to direct the charity’s trustee to take certain immediate steps in connection with the outstanding loan and to direct the charity’s accountant to provide information.
The inquiry was opened on 1 May 2015; the commission has been unable to make the inquiry public until now, due to the involvement of another agency.
The regulator stresses that opening an inquiry is not in itself a finding of wrongdoing. The purpose of an inquiry is to examine issues in detail and investigate and establish the facts so that the regulator can ascertain whether or not 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, 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 commission the power to institute inquiries. The opening of an inquiry gives the commission access to a range of protective and remedial powers. Section 84 of the Act is a power to direct charity trustees to take action specified by the commission which is considered expedient in the interests of the charity.
- 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.