Regulator urges witnesses to Presidents Club dinner to come forward

The Charity Commission opened a regulatory compliance case after allegations were made about sexual harassment at the men-only charity event last month

The Charity Commission has called for witnesses to come forward to help with its investigation into the Presidents Club.

The charity announced it was closing last month after a story in the Financial Times claimed that some young women hired as hostesses for the club’s annual men-only dinner on 18 January were subjected to sexual harassment.

Media reports of the dinner prompted condemnation of the charity from political figures and saw several charities pledge to return donations made by the organisation.

The Charity Commission opened a regulatory compliance case into the charity on 24 January and the Presidents Club will remain open until that case is completed, after which it will be liquidated.

The regulator has called for witnesses who were present at the dinner to come forward to determine whether the Presidents Club’s trustees have complied with their legal duties and responsibilities.

Some of the issues stemming from the dinner did not come under the Charity Commission’s remit, the regulator said, and police have stressed that any allegations of criminal behaviour should be reported to them.

Tracy Howarth, head of regulatory compliance at the Charity Commission, said: "It is important that anyone who attended or worked at the event knows they can come forward and raise concerns with us.

"We can’t provide any legal remedy or compensation to individuals. But what we can and must do is to assess whether the trustees of the charity complied with important legal duties and responsibilities in managing their charity.

"We want to ensure we have all the information possible to make a balanced and reasoned assessment of the facts."

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