Why is Shane Warne’s charity caught in a financial tangle

Shane Warne’s charity, The Shane Warne Foundation, has been shut down in order to avoid getting deregistration by the Victorian state government regulator.

cricket Updated: Jan 11, 2017 18:17 IST
Shane Warne,Australia national cricket team,Australia
Shane Warne’s charity, The Shane Warne Foundation, has shut down but investigations have shown no evidence of unlawful conduct.(Getty Images)

Australia spin legend Shane Warne has agreed to shut down his charity organisation to avoid deregistration by the state government regulator. According to a report on The Age, Consumer Affairs Victoria director Simon Cohen announced on Wednesday that the regulator had completed its 11-month investigation into The Shane Warne Foundation and considered deregistering it because of the “low proportion of funds raised that were distributed to beneficiaries in recent years”.

However, the investigation has not otherwise found evidence of unlawful conduct or a failure on the part of the foundation to give the net proceeds of appeals to named beneficiaries.

It was previously reported that the foundation was running into losses, donating just 11 cents to 32 cents of every dollar raised each year on behalf of sick and underprivileged children since 2011.

The foundation was issued a show cause notice in October last year, asking why it should be allowed to remain a registered fundraiser after violating guidelines requiring it donate at least 35 percent of the money it raises.

Warne decided to close the foundation after he and board member Eddie McGuire were summoned to a meeting by Consumer Affairs Victoria at its headquarters in December.

The Age report however says that according to a CAV source, a senior agency official had fawned over the celebrity duo who signed autographs and posed for selfies with department bureaucrats.

The 11-year-old charity had been donating around 70 percent of funds raised in its early years of operation to the tune of about USD 4 million. But since 2011, foundation has taken a big hit due to the expenditures incurred for staging gala dinners, celebrity cricket matches and annual poker tournaments.

The report said that in 2014 the foundation spent USD 551,000 on marketing, events and other operating costs but only actually raised USD 452,000. The expenses included USD 55,000 spent on “partnership agreements”, USD 96,000 on catering and alcohol, and USD 133,000 on salaries. Only USD 50,000 was distributed to its beneficiaries.

Since the foundation didn’t publish its annual financial reports, the state of its finances weren’t publicly known for a long time. In fact, it had even tried to get it declared confidentially by the national charity regulator under a federal law that has been used to protect the safety of family violence charities.

First Published: Jan 11, 2017 18:16 IST