The Scottish charity sector is bracing itself for a summer of damaging press coverage after a Sunday newspaper claimed that £100m of charity donations has disappeared without trace.
Scotland on Sunday made the allegation based on Inland Revenue figures which purportedly showed that 10,000 Scottish charities have slipped off the charities register, each with average assets of £10,000.
But umbrella body, the SCVO, claims the discrepancies are more evidence of the paucity of the official tally of charities than fraud.
The Inland Revenue's first attempt to update its decades-old register of charities was made last year. But this merely involved writing one letter to charities checking that they still existed.
"The best guess is that these charities have simply finished their work and come to an end," said a spokesman for the SCVO. "There is no evidence that they have disappeared with the money. Anybody who ever registered was on the list." The SCVO estimates that there are 25,000 charities in Scotland, 6,000 more than the Inland Revenue's total.