The Charity Commission has removed a charity from the register after it spent funds on gym membership and made payments to a TV channel at which one of the trustees was a director.
The regulator says in an inquiry report published today it had concluded that the trustees of the Islamic Global Trust, which was registered in 2008 with objects including helping people in need and advancing education in the UK and Pakistan, were responsible for serious mismanagement and the abuse of charity.
The commission began investigating the charity in May 2013 after Manchester City Council raised concerns that it had incorrectly claimed business rates relief on property it rented.
The local authority had found a lack of charitable activity being carried out at the charity’s premises and removed charitable rate relief granted on those properties.
The commission found "significant discrepancies" between the levels of income and spending reported by the charity’s trustees and the amount of funds passing through its bank account.
Analysis by the regulator of the charity’s financial records showed payments including monthly gym memberships and payments of more than £6,000 to a digital TV channel where one of the charity’s trustees was a director.
The charity paid £14,600 to two debt-collection agencies and made payments to Companies House, despite not being registered with it, the regulator said.
The commission also found unattributed payments of £10,000 from the charity’s bank account.
It removed the charity from the register in February 2017 because it could find no evidence of any charitable activity and because it could not locate its trustees.
Asked why it had taken more than two years to publish its report into the inquiry, a spokeswoman for the regulator said it would have liked to have done so earlier but it was important that prioritised its resources on investigating active risks of harm in charities.
Amy Spiller, head of investigations at the Charity Commission, said: "The trustees of the Islamic Global Trust failed in their duties.
"They used charitable funds for their own agendas, without regard for their charitable cause and the purposes for which money was donated.
"This was an abuse of charity and public trust."