The Charity Commission has raised concerns with the trustees of the Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust about their legal campaign to stop a scheme that would use the disgraced broadcaster’s estate to compensate his victims.
A spokeswoman for the commission said it was not clear that the trustees were working in the best interests of the charity, and said that the regulator remained in contact with the charity.
The charity, set up in 1985, was bequeathed the bulk of Savile’s estate on his death in 2011. However, this will not be paid to the charity until the compensation claims have been concluded. The estate was said to be worth more than £4m originally, but is now worth only about £3m, it is believed.
In February, the trustees of the charity failed in a High Court attempt to block a compensation scheme put together by the law firm Slater & Gordon, which represents more than 175 of Savile’s victims, and to have NatWest removed as the will’s executor.
The charity applied for leave to appeal against that judgment and was granted it earlier this month.
The charity’s trustees have now lodged that application, saying they are concerned about lawyers potentially being paid far more than victims under the compensation scheme, and about the fees that NatWest, the executor of the will, has been charging to the estate.
The commission spokeswoman said: "We were not consulted by the trustees in relation to the original application and have raised concerns as to whether the appeal can be said to be in the best interests of the charity.
"We are also examining the trustees’ entitlement to recover costs incurred in the litigation from the charity. We have sought further information and are awaiting a response."
Jo Summers, a partner at PWT Advice, the charity’s law firm, said: "We have replied fully to the Charity Commission's queries, including answering its points on the recoverability of costs. It is also incorrect to say we've never consulted it – we have been in constant contact with the Charity Commission."