Ex-banker's no-show hands legal victory to commission

A long-running legal dispute involving the Charity Commission and a retired banker has ended after the man failed to turn up at court. Arthur Bennett took the commission to the high court in a bid to unfreeze a personal bank account blocked by the regulator after Bennett moved £63,000 of charitable funds into it.

But Bennett did not turn up at court this week, causing the judge to rule in the commission’s favour. The judge found that the cash in the account was charity money and should be used for charitable purposes.

This means the money, plus any interest accrued, will now be handed back to the Diabetes Foundation, which has also been involved in previous cases with Bennett. An earlier inquiry by the commission in 1997 resulted in the account being frozen, after the regulator found the cash appeared to be charity funds.

A spokesman for the commission said: “Given Mr Bennett's previous convictions, including convictions for fraudulent trading and for acting as a trustee while disqualified, the commission believed that it was important to act to recover the money that was diverted, not only in the interest of ensuring public confidence in giving to charity, but also to give a clear indication that when individuals misappropriate charitable funds the commission will take all appropriate steps to get the money back.”

Bennett is also due to be evicted from his home today (Friday), with the proceeds of the sale of the property going to Diabetes UK, after the charity previously obtained a cost order of more than £700,000 fees relating to a case dating back to 1995.

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