Charity has paid £500k to the Official Custodian for Charities

The Jewish charity the Reb Moishe Foundation has been the subject of a Charity Commission probe, and is appealing two orders to hand funds to the custodian

A Jewish poverty and education charity that is appealing against two Charity Commission orders to hand over funds has so far paid £500,000 to the Official Custodian for Charities, the custodian’s accounts for the 2016/17 financial year show.

The document shows that £500,000 from the Reb Moishe Foundation has been safeguarded since 5 July 2016 by the custodian, a holding service that protects disputed charitable property.

It is the first time the amount of funds received by the custodian from the charity has been disclosed.

The amount received by the custodian is only a partial settlement of the amount requested by the Charity Commission.

The charity’s sole trustee has appealed to the charity tribunal against two orders to hand over funds to the custodian as part of the regulator’s statutory inquiry into the charity.

Since 2015, the Reb Moishe Foundation has been the subject of a Charity Commission investigation of a £2m loan the charity made in 2006 to a company called Gladstar.

The charity’s sole trustee, Jacob Plitnick, is the director of Gladstar. The commission was alerted to the loan in late 2014 by HM Revenue & Customs.

Plitnick was ordered by the commission to hand the funds over, but made only a partial payment, according to the regulator. A further order was made on 21 July 2016. Both orders are being appealed by Plitnick at the charity tribunal.

The Charity Commission’s inquiry into the charity is continuing, and the inquiry is also looking at other issues associated with the charity’s relationship with Gladstar, such as reductions in the interest payable on the loan and the fact that Gladstar was running at a significant deficit.

The charity’s accounts for 2013 – the latest accounts at the time the investigation was opened – showed it was owed more than £2.3m by Gladstar.

The amount owed by Gladstar to the charity rose to £2.6m by the end of 2015, according to the charity’s accounts for that year, with an interest rate of 10 per cent a year.

In contrast, the charity had an income of £213,307 in 2013 and spent £49,180. Its 2015 accounts showed the charity had an income of £181,443 and spent £75,662.

A further directions hearing about Plitnick’s appeal against the order to hand over further funds to the custodian will be heard later this month.

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