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High Court hears charity received £42m before spectacular collapse

This news post is about 1 year old

Founder said that the case to disqualify her was unsupported

Kids Company boss Camila Batmanghelidjh dismissed warnings the controversial charity was in financial peril.

The case against Batmanghelidjh and a number of Kids Company trustees was made this week at London’s High Court.

Disqualification is being sought by the official receiver for periods of up to six years against Batmanghelidjh, founder and chief executive of Kids Company, and seven trustees of the charity.

Kids Company, which helped troubled children in South London, was given £42million of public money.

The charity closed in 2015 due to severe financial mismanagement.  Batmanghelidjh frequently hit the headlines because of her relationship with senior politicians, one being then prime minister David Cameron.

Alan Yentob, former creative director at the BBC and who chaired Kids Company for 18 years, and Richard Handover, former chair and chief executive of the retailer WH Smith, are two of the trustees facing action.  

Officials are pursuing a four-year bans against Yentob, Handover, Jane Tyler, Andrew Webster and Francesca Robinson, and disqualifications of three years against Vincent O’Brien and two and a half years against Erica Bolton. 

Batmanghelidjh and the former trustees reject the accusations and say the periods of disqualification being sought are extreme, unsupported and unfairly presented. 

The defendants say they were all acting in good faith and were making reasonable judgement calls in the face of difficulties. 

Lawyers for Batmanghelidjh also reject the claim that she was a de facto director and say the case against her should be dropped. 

However the court heard she used a “threatening and bullying” tone with colleagues and ignored warnings about the dire financial state of the now-defunct charity.

Camila Batmanghelidjh is also alleged to have begged David Cameron to bail out the charity by quadrupling government funding.

She also boasted of a special relationship with HMRC which meant a tax bill need not be paid. 

Opening the case, Lesley Anderson QC, for the Insolvency Service, said: “The directors were repeatedly warned about several issues that went to the overall business model, but took insufficient heed. What they did do was too little, too late.”

It operated an “unsustainable business model” in which it repeatedly put “spending ahead of its income.”

The hearings are due to run until December.




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