Charity watchdog looks at reclaiming millions laundered through Orthodox group

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Charity watchdog looks at reclaiming millions laundered through Orthodox group

Commission 'still considering its options' at getting back cash after Edward Cohen, 67, was jailed for nine years for laundering more than £10m through a Jewish charity

The Charity Commission said it was “still considering its options” in recovering millions of pounds laundered through a network of Orthodox Jewish charities in London.

On Monday the Commission said its inquiry stage closed in July when Edward Cohen, 67, was jailed for nine years for selling counterfeit erectile dysfunction and slimming pills and laundering more than £10m through the charities’ bank accounts.

Cohen, a former trustee of Chabad UK – which is unconnected to Chabad Lubavitch UK – was convicted of providing false or misleading information to the Commission, money laundering, theft of £165,000, and fraud.

His activities were unearthed after the Commission investigated a number of charities including Brocho Vhatzlocho, Havenpoint, Pikuach Nefesh, Worldwide Hatzala, Ozer Dalim, Mamosh Worldwide and Or Simcha.

This week the Commission said it was “still considering its options in relation to the recovery of monies, including those held in a number of the charities’ bank accounts and currently restrained by a court order under section 41 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002”.

It said it would “ensure that, where possible, any charitable donations recovered are transferred to another charity to be spent in accordance with the charitable objects to which they were initially given” and “consider removing the charities from the register once this has concluded”.

The charities’ stated aims include helping “the poor, aged, sick and feeble” but in June 2014 the Commission opened a class statutory inquiry after a tip-off from the Metropolitan Police that the charities were being used for money-laundering.

Bank records showed that more than £9 million had passed through the charities’ bank accounts between January 2012 and May 2014 but less than £320,000 was accounted for in the eight charities’ official filings for that period.

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