The richest man in the UK has been making a lot of headlines lately, but not all of them are for positive reasons. The Guardian reports that Sir Jim Ratcliffe is being investigated by the Charity Commission, which is a government regulatory watchdog. The regulatory compliance case is investigating “concerns about the governance and management of the Jim Ratcliffe Foundation.”
Ratcliffe created the charity to help build a new ski clubhouse in Courchevel. The facility was built in order to help underprivileged children learn to ski, among other charitable endeavors. There are admission requirements to be a part of this club though: £25,000 to join, and £6,000 in yearly membership fees.
So the ultimate question is whether this exclusive and expensive club is actually using these fees to help children learn to ski, or if it’s just a giant lie. The club claims to have used the funds to help 250 local children to purchase affordable season passes and gain access to their world-class facilities. They do this by offering a heavily discounted season pass to local kids. I do feel like though if you’re that rich, you should be giving away the passes for free, or giving more season passes to more people.
It should be noted that launching a regulatory complaint case isn’t evidence of wrongdoing, but it could eventually result in a statutory inquiry, which is a more thorough investigation.
The Charity Commission, which launched the investigation following concerns raised by The Guardian, issued the following statement to them:
“We can confirm that we have opened a regulatory compliance case to assess potential concerns about the governance and management of the Jim Ratcliffe Foundation, and are engaging with the charity’s trustees on these matters.”
Ineos, which Ratcliffe is the CEO of, released the following statement to the Guardian:
“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.”
Sir Jim Ratcliffe became the richest man in the UK thanks to him being the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Ineos, which is a global petrochemicals manufacturer and fracking company.
To his defense, which is not something I typically say of billionaires (#taxtherich), the timing of the article is a little suspect.
The BBC reports that he just submitted a bid to purchase Manchester United. The current owners, the Glazers, are extremely unpopular among the United faithful for a variety of reasons. Ratcliffe is a Manchester United fan, so supporters are hopeful that he takes over. The Glazers aim to complete the deal by the end of March or early April, with multiple parties expected to bid.