Charity used to launder money struck off the register

Written by Matt Ritchie

A charity has been struck off the register after being used to launder the proceeds of crime, the regulator has announced.

The Charity Commission said Urban Relief, former registered charity number 1114537, has been struck off after an inquiry found trustees were responsible for mismanagement and misconduct in administration of the charity.

Urban Relief had objects to relieve poverty and financial hardship among West African people by providing food, clothing, housing and other services.

The commission opened the inquiry in February 2015 after a trustee of the charity had been convicted of a number of offences, including managing a brothel, concealing criminal property and using the charity’s bank account to launder funds from the proceeds of crime.

The inquiry’s analysis of Urban Relief’s bank records revealed that the charity did receive and spend funds, the commission said, but no evidence that those funds were obtained or applied in furtherance of its objects.

The commission said that the convicted trustee and his wife, also a trustee, did not cooperate with the inquiry despite being ordered to do so. The regulator also found that two of the four charity trustees were unaware that their names had been declared to the commission.

Charity Commission head of investigations and enforcement Carl Mehta said the trustees “failed to abide by even the basic duties of trustees and failed to cooperate with our investigation”.

“This charity has now been removed from the register of charities and the trustee involved was held to account by the criminal justice system,” Mehta said.

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