Regulator freezes bank account of charity with Russian links

The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into Jewish arts and heritage charity Genesis Philanthropy Group after three of its trustees were subject to financial sanctions by the government relating to Russia

Oligarchs Petr Aven, Mikhail Fridman and German Khan have all been named as ‘designated persons’ by the government as part of sanctions brought in following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Under the rules they cannot be trustees of a charity and the register has been amended to remove them from the charity’s board. The charity now has one trustee listed Gennady Gazin.

The regulator’s inquiry will look at whether the charity can continue to operate and is viable and that the removed trustees has “have discharged their legal duties and responsibilities in their management and administration of the charity”, said the Commission.

“The regulator has frozen the charity’s bank account, meaning that no one can access or move funds held in its account without the Commission’s prior consent,” it added.

“The Commission may extend the scope of the inquiry if additional issues emerge.”

Genesis Philanthropy Group was registered in 2018 to support the arts, culture and heritage of Jewish people.

Its latest annual accounts, for the financial year ending June 2020 show it had a total income of £899,400, almost all through donations and legacies. It’s expenditure was £877,530.

This is the latest charity to be looked at by the Commission over links with Russia.

Last week the regulator opened a compliance case into the charity Downside Up, whose patrons include Prime Minister Boris Johnson, over funding it received from Russian president Vladimir Putin.

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