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Inquiry into Sussex charity’s ‘unusual structure’
A financier was investigated after his charitable trust gave just three pence in every £100 to good causes.
The Charities Commission has confirmed they had investigated Horsham businessman Matthew Jenner who runs the Cup Trust.
Jenner has come under fire after it was revealed that the trust claimed £46 million in Gift Aid from the taxman after raising more than £176 million in two years.
Mr Jenner and business partner Anthony Meighan, who run the trust – which is registered offshore in the Caribbean, were also behind the tax avoidance scheme Romangate favoured by Jimmy Carr and other leading celebrities.
The Cup Trust raised more in two years than many leading national charities such as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the British Heart Foundation and the Salvation Army but only a tiny percentage was given to good causes.
The trust, which has not acted illegally, would purchase huge annual quantities of government bonds and then reportedly sold them on for a nominal sum through third parties to investors.
Investors then sold them on at market value and donated the proceeds to the charity, giving the investor a big charity tax relief reclaim.
A two-year investigtion by the Charity Commission was closed in March 2012 following third-party advice.
The charity watchdog said although it was “uncomfortable” with the trust’s set-up, but could not strip the trust of its charity status.
A statement by the Charity Commission said: “We recognise that for a charitable structure to be used in this way damages public trust and confidence in the sector and serves to undermine the excellent work of charities.
“It is important to stress that the Cup Trust is a highly unusual structure and operation.
“It is also important to note that it remains to be seen whether the charity’s gift aid claims will prove successful.”
Mr Jenner, 41, who is believed to have has recently moved, did not respond to The Argus’s attempt to contact him.
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