Charities to recover £2m held by retired rabbi after National Crime Agency probe

05 Apr 2024 News

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A retired rabbi has agreed to return millions of pounds intended for charitable causes to two charities following an investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Today, the NCA published the findings of its investigation into Barry Marcus who had received £2.35m from Dalaid and the Schwarzschild Foundation and had been withholding the funds in personal accounts for years.

The NCA said Marcus, a former rabbi at the Central London Synagogue, “formally agreed” to return the funds to the charities in January, which are almost double the funds identified in the UK and frozen. 

Dalaid, a charity that aims to relieve poverty and advance Jewish education, and the Schwarzschild Foundation, which aims to provide education and the relief of poverty for women and girls in the orthodox Jewish faith, were unaware that the funds had not been distributed.

The Charity Commission is currently investigating both charities over concerns relating to their governance and management of funds. 

NCA said the Commission has “put in place measures to ensure the funds returned to the charities are properly applied”.

No ‘legitimate explanation for the substantial payments’

The NCA began investigating Marcus in October 2022 after the latter had received over £1m from Dalai and the Schwarzschild Foundation between January and September of that year.

It found Marcus had transferred “a substantial proportion” to his other UK accounts and accounts overseas, saying that initial enquiries had failed to establish “a legitimate explanation for the substantial payments”. 

Between November 2022 and March last year, NCA requested four account freezing orders over funds totalling £1.18m and held in Marcus’ accounts.

Last month, Westminster Magistrates’ Court varied the four orders to allow the frozen funds to be returned to Dalai and the Schwarzschild Foundation.

The NCA said: “Despite maintaining that he had distributed a substantial amount of money in accordance with the charity’s intentions, Marcus was unable to provide satisfactory independent documentation to substantiate this.”

‘Challenging and complex’ investigation

Tim Quarrelle, NCA branch commander, said: “This is a fantastic result that will see millions of pounds returned to the two charities they had been deprived from.

“It follows a challenging and complex NCA investigation that ran over 18 months, showing the commitment of our officers to pursue every line of inquiry to reach the best possible outcome.

“We’re particularly grateful to our colleagues at the Charity Commission who are in parallel investigating issues relating to these charities.”

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