Three Dove Trust trustees could be liable for £1.7m owed to charities

The Charity Commission says that all options for recovery of the money from the trust, which runs the suspended CharityGiving website, are being pursued


Trustees of the Dove Trust, the charity that runs the suspended online giving platform CharityGiving, could be liable to pay back £1.7m owed to charities, the Charity Commission has said.

The regulator said last month that it had concluded that there had been misconduct and mismanagement at the charity, which is subject to a statutory inquiry.

An investigation by the interim manager of the trust, Pesh Framjee of the accountancy firm Crowe Clark Whitehill LLP, who was appointed by the regulator in June to protect charity funds, has estimated that the Dove Trust’s potential liabilities, most of which is owed to charities, total £2.2m.

About £500,000 is available for initial distribution to more than 1,800 charities and good causes that are owned money by the site.

The regulator said in December that because of the complexity of charity law involved in the case it would ask the High Court to decide on the fairest way to distribute the money.

A spokeswoman for the commission told Third Sector today that a date for a directions hearing had not yet been set, but the regulator was still hoping it would take place in January.

The trustees of the charity, who are listed on the commission’s website as Keith Colman, Donna Naghshineh and Bryan Gunn, the former Norwich City goalkeeper, could be liable for the remaining £1.7m owed to charities and good causes.

"All available options for recovery are being pursued, including from debtors and trustees," the commission said. "Ultimately, the trustees are responsible and liable for making good any losses."

The regulator said it had begun the process of removing Colman, the charity’s founder, as a trustee, but he resigned before it was able to remove him. However, under charity law he could still be liable to repay the money owed to charities.

The spokeswoman said: "We cannot comment on the specific details regarding what actions might be taken to recover money. As this is a live case, it is not appropriate to issue any confirmation about whether any action will or will not be taken.

"We cannot comment on the liability of Mr Colman or any other current or former trustee. However, resigning as a trustee does not absolve a trustee of liability for breach of trust arising while a trustee."

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