The UK’s second-richest person, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who now technically resides in Monaco as a tax exile, is facing some awkward questions and scrutiny from the UK’s Charity Commission over a ski clubhouse in the French Alps. The ski clubhouse reportedly cost the equivalent of $20 million USD to construct. And that’s $20 million that may have been improperly funded by his charity, the Jim Ratcliffe Foundation.
The UK Charity Commission has opened a “regulatory compliance case” in order to investigate “concerns about the governance and management of the Jim Ratcliffe Foundation.”
At the center of the issue is a ski lodge at Courchevel, an exclusive ski resort where Ratcliffe and his daughter have been regulars for many years.
According to Ratcliffe, the new ski clubhouse was built with the intent of helping underprivileged youth to learn the sport of snow skiing, as well as other charitable functions held on site. But reporting from the Guardian shows that the ski club itself has described the new clubhouse as “dedicated solely to its members” and that membership in the resort costs tens of thousands of dollars.
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Ratcliffe could be in hot water with the Charity Commission if it turns out he used charitable funds for such a purpose. But through a spokesperson, he calls the allegations “both defamatory and wrong.” The spokesperson also disputed the characterization of the clubhouse as “private,” saying that the members-only section “makes up less than 4 percent of the space of the building.” The spokesperson went on:
“Ineos completely rejects the allegations relating to the Jim Ratcliffe Foundation made by the Guardian newspaper…The JRF exists to promote the health and wellbeing of young people, improving the life chances of children and supporting wildlife conservation.
“As part of these charitable activities, the JRF has donated money to the Club des Sports de Courchevel, a local charitable endeavour, to build a new clubhouse and training facilities.”
If the commission does find wrongdoing, the next step would be a statutory inquiry into the charity’s finances.
Read more: Billionaire Jim Ratcliffe’s Facing Scrutiny Over $20 Million French Alps Ski Chalet He Reportedly Built For Underprivileged Children
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