Regulator closes holocaust charity and imposes lifetime ban on trustee

Charity

The Charity Commission has closed down a holocaust education charity and disqualified one of its trustees from holding office in a charity for life after he was subject to government sanctions.

The regulator opened an inquiry into the World Holocaust Forum Foundation in April last year, after its president and trustee Viatcheslav Kantor, was sanctioned by the UK government following Russian president Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

The scheme enables the Secretary of State to designate a person, which can result in the freezing of funds and economic resources of certain persons, entities or bodies involved in destabilising Ukraine, benefitting from or supporting the Russian government.

The inquiry report says that Kantor failed to cooperate when first approached by the commission with its regulatory concerns, forcing the regulator to open an inquiry and suspend Kantor as a trustee.

Kantor was fully removed by the regulator in May 2022 and as a consequence has been automatically disqualified from being a trustee of any other charity without a waiver.

The regulator said it would be a criminal offence for Kantor to hold, access or manage the property of a charity due to his designation.

The commission has concluded the charity was no longer viable as a result of Kantor’s designation, with the inquiry finding that it had not carried out any activities in pursuit of its objectives since it was registered in May 2021.

The charity had just £5,000 in assets, which were donated by Kantor and were being held in the charity’s name by the law firm that represented it in its registration application. It had no bank account or any other assets or sources of income.

The regulator concluded the charity should be dissolved and has now facilitated its winding up and dissolution.

The remaining charitable funds were transferred in May to an unconnected registered charity with similar purposes, the regulator said. The charity was removed from the register in August.

Joshua Farbridge, head of compliance and visits and inspections at the commission, said: “The commission is clear that designated persons cannot legally act as trustees. By failing to step down, coupled with his failure to cooperate with the commission, Dr Kantor’s conduct fell below that which the commission expects of trustees. 

“Where wrongdoing occurs in a charity, the commission will ensure that those responsible are held accountable for their actions or lack of. In Dr Kantor’s case this meant removal from office and a lifelong disqualification from acting as a trustee for any other charity.  

“Our inquiry concluded that, subsequent to Dr Kantor’s designation, the charity had no viable future and should be wound-up.” 

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