Investigation into charity ‘hacked by Russian state'

13 Dec 2018 News

The Scottish charity regulator, OSCR, has opened an inquiry into a charity that the Foreign Office claims was hacked by the Russian state.

Institute for Statecraft, based in Fife, runs a programme called Integrity Initiative - which has received more than £2m in Foreign Office funding over the past two years.

This week, Labour MPs have called for the charity to be investigated after the Sunday Mail reported that the Integrity Initiative Twitter account - which has more than 3,000 followers - shared a series of links to articles criticising Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his allies.

Labour MP Chris Williamson also raised concerns about both the charity’s work to undermine a Spanish socialist politician and that three employees of the charity have links to the armed forces.

The Foreign Office defended its funding of the charity and said the Tweets showed no “systemic bias” but that it did not fund the charity programme’s social media activity anyway.

Yesterday, the OSCR announced that it has opened an investigation into the Institute for Statecraft in relation to its Integrity Initiative programme.

OSCR said it decided to open the inquiry after the charity itself had reported to it "on some of the matters involved" .

The regulator said it will publish a report on its findings at the end of the inquiry.

A spokesperson said: “We can confirm OSCR has opened an inquiry into the charity The Institute for Statecraft. As such it would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.”

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