Regulator freezes bank accounts of orthodox Jewish charity

The Charity Commission is probing the Bersam Trust, based in Salford, because of 'significant discrepancies' in its financial activities

The trust's entry on the register of charities
The trust's entry on the register of charities

The Charity Commission has frozen the bank accounts of an orthodox Jewish charity after discovering "significant discrepancies" in its financial activity.

The regulator said today that it had opened a statutory inquiry into the Bersam Trust, a Salford-based charity with objects including providing children with a strictly orthodox Jewish religious education and advancing orthodox Jewish practice.

The commission said examination of the charity’s annual accounts and bank account records found "significant discrepancies between the financial activity recorded in the accounts and the values of funds entering and leaving the charity’s bank accounts".

Analysis showed that comparative figures in the accounts did not match those in the previous year’s accounts and the differences were not supported by an explanation from the independent examiner, the regulator said.

The charity had an income of £303,308 and expenditure of £170,150 in the year to the end of March 2017, according to the most recent set of accounts on the Charity Commission’s online register.

The regulator said its inquiry would examine issues including whether trustees had provided false or misleading information to the regulator and whether the charity’s funds had been spent exclusively for charitable purposes.

The commission said it previously gave advice to the charity’s trustees after looking into concerns about governance issues at the charity, and said the inquiry would also examine the extent to which the trustees complied with this advice.

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