Charity Commission opens investigation into Chabad Lubavitch UK

Watchdog starts probe over charity's failure to file accounts on time


The Charity Commission has opened an investigation into one of the UK’s biggest Jewish charities over a failure to submit its accounts on time.

The independent regulator announced on Thursday that Chabad Lubavitch UK had “failed to meet its legal obligation to file its annual accounting information to the Commission for the financial year ending 31 December 2015, which was due to be filed by 31 October 2016.

“Consequently the charity has now persistently failed to file its accounting documents on time for five consecutive years – filing at least 300 days late for the past four years - and the trustee has demonstrated a repeated pattern of behaviour and continuing evidence of mismanagement in the administration of the charity.”

A spokesperson for the charity said Chabad Lubavitch UK is “actively interviewing for a new chief financial officer, with the intent to put the charity in a stronger position, with greater efficiency”.

The JC reported in late July that the charity watchdog was considering taking action. Charities are supposed to submit their accounts to the commission within 10 months of the end of their accounting year.

In 2014, the charity received nearly £8,750,000 in income, up by around £1 million from the previous year. It has a network of 26 affiliated Chabad  Houses in communities and campuses around the country as well as schools and other educational and religious activities.

The Commission also stated that its investigation would look at “the extent to which the charity is complying with its legal duties in respect of the administration, governance and management and in particular, the compliance with legal obligations for the preparation and filing of the charity’s accounting information… [and] the extent to which the charity has complied with previously issued regulatory guidance.”

A second spokesperson for the charity told the JC that "the accounts for 2014 were submitted in 2016 and the auditors are now busy with the 2015 audit. Work on the 2016 accounts are well in hand and simultaneously measures are in place to bring 2017 up to pace.

"In the past year we have changed Auditors and are currently restructuring our accounting systems. Chabad Lubavitch UK is a complex organisation and it has taken longer to get up to speed than expected. Lubavitch has submitted its annual accounts since the charity's inception, albeit late, and we are working together with the charity commission to correct this." 

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