The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into the Devon Charitable Trust, following the discovery that more than £850,000 of charitable funds have been transferred to a trustee's bank account.
The commission has been investigating the operations of the London-based charity since August 2018, when serious concerns were raised concerning its management and administration.
The investigation has now been escalated to a formal statutory inquiry following the discovery of the transfer of funds from the charity’s account to the trustee’s bank account.
The Commission said it also has concerns related to potential conflicts of interest on the board of trustees; and about evidence that some donations have not being deposited into the charity’s accounts appropriately. The charity’s bank account has now been frozen to safeguard its remaining funds.
Despite its name, the Devon Charitable Trust is based in Harrow, in north-west London. Its website also lists offices in California and Gujurat, India. The charity’s stated aim is to relieve poverty and advance religion throughout the world.
The regulator’s inquiry will now seek to determine whether the charity’s trustees are complying in full with their legal duties; and to determine the extent to which the charity has complied with regulatory guidance issued previously. It will publish a full report following the conclusion of the investigation.