Man, woman arrested in Sikh Youth Charity fund fraud probe in UK

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LONDON: As a result of investigation by the Charity Commission into affairs of Sikh Youth UK organisation, two people including one woman have been arrested on Wednesday 3 July by detectives from West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit following the examination of evidence obtained during searches which took place in September 2018. 

A 38-year-old man and a 49-year-old woman were detained from an address in Birmingham for questioning in connection with alleged fraud offences of donated charitable funds.  Both of them are being held at a police station in the West Midlands.  WMCTU has been working closely with the Charity Commission on this investigation.

The arrests, resulting from an examination of evidence recovered during searches in September last year, are linked to an investigation by the Charity Commission into the Sikh Youth UK organisation. The force said the arrests were “in connection with alleged fraud offences of donated charitable funds”.

West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit made the arrests after examining items taken during property searches in September. The West Midlands counter-terrorism unit has been “working closely” with the Charity Commission on the investigation, police added. The commission said it had opened “a statutory inquiry into funds held by and raised in connection with the organisation”.

In October 2018, police raised concerns with the independent charities’ regulator, relating to the organisation’s receipts and use of donations. In response, the commission obtained copies of bank statements, and analysis identified what it called “a number of regulatory concerns which warrant further investigation”.

A formal inquiry was opened on November 15 last year. A spokeswoman for the Charity Commission said the inquiry was examining whether the organisation’s bosses properly administered donations, trustees’ conduct, its partnerships with other charities, and its financial management.

She added: “The inquiry will also examine the organisation’s status in order to determine whether it is a charity in law.”Those running the organisation have not applied to register with the commission.”

The independent regulator added that although Sikh Youth UK is not a registered charity, the commission has jurisdiction as the funds were charitable. Sikh Youth UK is being investigated over its “receipt and use of charitable funds” which has raised “a number of regulatory concerns”, the Charity Commission said. The organisation is yet to comment.

On its website, Sikh Youth UK says it is a “national organisation raising awareness on social evils and supporting the victims of sexual grooming, substance abuse and domestic violence within the community”.