Former chair stole £180,000 from the Asda Foundation to fund his partner's dance company

In Leeds Crown Court, Paul Kelly admitted seven counts of fraud by false representation, having diverted to Murley Dance money earmarked for victims of the 2014 floods in Somerset

Paul Kelly
Paul Kelly

The former chair of the Asda Foundation has admitted stealing £180,000 from the charity to help fund his partner’s dance company.

Paul Kelly, 55, who was also Asda’s vice-president of corporate affairs, pleaded guilty to seven counts of fraud by false representation at a hearing at Leeds Crown Court this week.

Kelly diverted money earmarked for victims of the 2014 floods in Somerset to Murley Dance, which was run by his partner, David Murley, 36.

Once the fraud was discovered, in August 2014, Kelly was suspended by Asda pending a full investigation. He was dismissed by the supermarket chain in September 2014.

Kelly had also been a government adviser on food policy, alcohol and obesity and an ambassador for Prince Charles’s Business in the Community charity.

The case has adjourned for a pre-sentence report and a psychiatric report. Kelly will be sentenced on 16 February.

An Asda spokeswoman said: "Our internal controls identified the fraud in 2014, allowing us to take immediate action against this individual. Asda also gifted the full amount taken to the Asda Foundation so that its support for good causes wouldn’t be disrupted. We’re very proud of the support that the Asda Foundation has given to communities hit by the recent floods via a £500,000 fund and it would be a shame if this matter tainted that great work."

The foundation had an income of £8.8m in 2014, according to figures on the Charity Commission website.

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