The Charity Commission is investigating a charity that gave out almost £75m in loans to companies connected to one of its trustees.
The London-based charity Delapage supports Orthodox Jewish education and provides help to the sick and poor in Jewish communities around the world.
It has not filed any accounts with the commission since January 2009. The last available accounts are from 2008 and show that the charity had total funds of more than £85m, an income of almost £19m and an expenditure of £14.3m.
The accounts show that the charity was owed loans totalling almost £75m by 15 "connected companies". All of the companies list Joseph Ackerman – one of the two trustees of Delapage as listed on the Charity Commission’s website – as a former director.
The commission began investigating Delapage in 2009 after an examination of the charity’s accounts for 2008 by the regulator threw up several concerns. The commission said it had examined the charity’s accounts "as part of the follow-up work to a previous inquiry".
A commission spokeswoman said that, given the amount of time that had passed since the previous inquiry, it was not able to provide any information about it unless a request was made under the Freedom of Information Act, which takes 20 days to bear fruit.
The concerns raised after the examination of the charity’s accounts in 2009 related to "high levels of reserves, low levels of charitable expenditure and unsecured loans being made to the private companies of two of the charity’s trustees", the spokeswoman said.
After discussions with the charity’s two trustees in September 2010, the investigation was escalated to a statutory inquiry. On 19 October 2010, the commission removed the trustees’ powers and appointed Rod Weston, a partner at the audit, tax and advisory service specialist Mazars, as interim manager of the charity.
A spokeswoman for Mazars said it was a very complex case and the company was working through it. She said she was unable to give any further details.
A commission spokeswoman said that the regulator was not able to provide any further detail on the case because the inquiry remained open. "However, we intend, as is normal procedure, to publish a statement of the results of the inquiry setting out our findings once the inquiry is completed," she said.