Charity Commission launches investigation into family run poverty relief charity

The Charity Commission has launched a statutory inquiry into poverty relief charity MB Foundation, which is run by one family, over “serious financial and governance concerns”.

The inquiry has been launched into the charity, which is also known as the Mossad Horav Aryeh Halevy, after previously being part of the regulator’s ‘double defaulters’ inquiry, for charities that persistently fail to submit their annual accounts.

MB Foundation, whose only trustees are brothers, had failed to submit accounts for the years ending March 2014 and 2015.

Subsequent scrutiny of the accounts “raised several concerns about the charity’s governance, in particular the trustees’ handling of conflicts of interest”.

The charity’s chair is Rabbi Mordechai Bamberger and the only other trustee is his brother Solomon Bamberger.

According to the regulator, the charity carried out transactions with companies and other people that the brothers and other family members were directly connected to. This includes four loans to a connected company totalling more than £1.7m.

“The trustees have so far failed to provide the Commission with any formal documentation in relation to these loans,” said the regulator.

“Furthermore, the trustees did not provide information to demonstrate they had adequately identified or managed conflicts of interest.”

The inquiry is to focus on trustees’ decision making, particularly around loans and investments, conflicts of interests and whether there has been any indirect private benefit from running the charity.

In addition, whether the charity has suffered any financial loss due to mismanagement or misconduct will be looked at, as will the trustees’ ability to fulfil their legal duties and responsibilities.

According to latest accounts, for the year ending March 2020, the charity’s total income is £941,235, while its expenditure is £338,222.

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