Captain Tom Gin withdrawn from sale after ‘breaking charity law’

Gin, which was being sold to raise money for a foundation set up in the name of Captain Sir Tom Moore, has been withdrawn from sale after an apparent breach of Charity Law, it has emerged.

Bottles of Captain Sir Tom gin have been selling for £100 on Otterbeck Distillery’s website since April last year, with ‘all profits’ donated to the Captain Tom Foundation.

Although a legal requirement is that the actual amount donated to charity by a commercial partnership must be declared, the limited edition 50cl cask aged bottles were sold without meeting this requirement. According to The Independent raised a number of questions, the gin was quietly withdrawn from sale.

In another development, it can be revealed that the Captain Tom Foundation – which is already at the center of an ongoing Charity Commission compliance case that began in March last year – is the subject of “regulatory investigations” by the fundraising regulator. The regulator has declined to say in detail what the investigation is about, but said the investigation started on March 7 this year.

Referring to the sale of Captain Sir Tom’s £100 gin, Shivaji Shiva – a charity lawyer – said The Independent it “appears to constitute a violation of the Charity Act.” The lawyer, a charity partner at law firm VWV and formerly the secretary of the Charity Law Association, said the charity had questions to answer.

Both the distillery and charity have been unable to clarify whether the Ingram-Moore family, relatives of the late Captain Sir Tom, who raised almost £39million, including gift aid, for NHS Charities Together, has received or is to receive any payment from the Selling the £100 bottles or any other cheaper gin sold on behalf of the veteran.

Accounts released in February showed the Captain Tom Foundation had paid tens of thousands of pounds to companies run by the veteran’s daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore, and son-in-law, Colin. The accounts referred to the transactions as refunds.

The Independent also reported how he was told part of the regulator’s compliance case, which related to a request by the foundation to appoint Ms. Ingram-Moore as CEO with a six-figure salary. The Charity Commission is understood to have blocked the appointment last summer. The chair of the foundation’s board of trustees said Ms. Ingram-Moore “made the decision that she did not wish to serve as CEO” despite being appointed on an interim basis.

Otterbeck Distillery – which has described Captain Sir Tom as a “friend of the family” – announced it would be selling Captain Sir Tom Gin in November 2020, just months after launching the business. The 70cl gin was sold at £35.95 a bottle.

The distillery said the “proceeds” would go to the Captain Tom Foundation. A screenshot of the distillery’s website tweeted by Mr. Shiva revealed: “A delicate and herbaceous London dry gin with soft notes of citrus, rosemary and thyme.” Adding: “Proceeds go to the Captain Tom Foundation.”

However, in a letter on Twitter in November 2020, Mr Shiva highlighted the Charities Act 1992. In particular charities, the representation must be accompanied by a statement that clearly states… the reportable amount of the following amounts applicable in the circumstances… the sum of the any donation or service rendered or to be rendered by him in connection with the sale or supply of such goods.”

The legislation states that “reference to the “reportable amount” of a fee or other amount is a reference … to the actual amount of the fee or amount if known at the time of reporting; and … failing that, to the estimated amount of compensation or sum calculated as accurately as reasonably practicable under the circumstances.”

In December 2020, Civil Society News reported that when asked how much money would go to Captain Tom’s charity for each bottle of gin sold at £35.95, the company first reiterated that the foundation had “proceeds” from the sale would receive. The publication reported that three days later, the wording was removed from the website and replaced with the statement, “A donation will be made in support of the Captain Tom Foundation.” of the report contained no reference to the charity.

It’s not exactly clear when the distillery website changed for the £35.95 Captain Sir Tom Gin, but it now says: “We’re proud to support the Captain Tom Foundation by donating £1 from every bottle sold donate.”

A separate page on the distillery’s website showcased another Captain Sir Tom-branded drink, a £100 Limited Edition Barrel Aged Gin. However, instead of specifying exactly how much will go to the charity, it just said, “All profits will be donated to the Captain Tom Foundation, which supports causes close to his heart.” Twitter post of the distillery on April 30 last year, which promoted the £100 gin, said: “Pre-order available on our website.” The post added: “Don’t miss out… All profits go to the Captain Tom Foundation”.

After contact by The Independent, the distillery removed the £100 gin from sale. The website where the bottles were presented now says: “No products left to show”. The £35.95 Captain Sir Tom Gin is still available.

Mr Shiva commented before the £100 bottles were withdrawn from sale The Independent: “Is there a charitable problem here? The answer is yes.

“It appears that you have sold two bottles of gin on the same website: the first is a really clear example of how the requirements of the Charity Act can be met as it states that we are going to sell this bottle and will benefit the Captain Tom Foundation and they get £1 from every bottle sold. It’s crystal clear. There might be different views on whether £1 is enough, but we’ve been told enough to make a decision – whether to buy or not to buy, you know what’s going on.

“The other refers to “all profits” being donated to the foundation. We don’t know what that means. There could be no win at all, it could be a wonderful win – nobody really has a clue.”

Referring to the sale of the £100 Captain Tom gin, he said: “It appears to constitute a breach of the Charity Act. There are questions to be answered [for the charity].”

Mr Shiva added: “There are responsibilities for the trustees of the foundation and for Otterbeck as a commercial partner. It seems that there have been failings on the part of both parties.”

Asked whether both the Captain Tom Foundation and Otterbeck Distillery appear to be in breach of the Charity Act, Mr Shiva said: “To be sure we need to know if there was an agreement and if so what it said.”

He added, however, that “the trustees should have negotiated an appropriate agreement with the commercial participant: one that is in the best interest of the charity and includes the prescribed requirements, and … the distillery should not say that the funds were taken from it by the.” Sale would go to the charity, except in accordance with a relevant agreement with the charity.”

A statement issued Thursday on behalf of the Otterbeck Distillery and the Ingram-Moore family said: “The Otterbeck Distillery has agreed to match 100% of the profits on the Captain Sir Tom 100 Gin – a limited edition of just 100 bottles – featuring Captain Tom to share foundation. The team at the small family business in Yorkshire met Captain Sir Tom because of a shared passion for the Yorkshire Dales and vintage motorcycles and have kindly agreed to lend his time and expertise after he expressed an interest in a gin to be named after him . The payment will be made in two months after the completion of Otterbeck’s annual financial statements.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Otterbeck expects around £30 from each bottle sold, after duty and production costs, to go to the Captain Tom Foundation. Not all bottles of the limited edition of 100 have been sold yet.”

The distillery did not comment on the £100 gin being later withdrawn when asked about it again The Independent. However, it did confirm that Ms. Ingram Moore has stepped down as interim CEO. A comment from the Captain Tom Foundation Board of Trustees read: “Hannah Ingram-Moore resigned as planned at the end of April 2022 after an agreed period of nine months from her role as interim CEO of the Captain Tom Foundation.

“During her time as interim CEO, Hannah established the foundation as a voice against ageism, oversaw generous donations to ten charities dear to her father, and raised awareness for many other great causes. The Trustees would like to thank Hannah for her dedication and hard work advancing the Captain Tom Foundation to bring about meaningful positive change in society.

“The Trustees of the Captain Tom Foundation are currently in the process of onboarding a new CEO and will announce this in due course.”

The fundraising regulator said: We are currently conducting regulatory investigations into the charity and are therefore unable to comment further on this case. We continue to work with the Charity Commission to resolve matters related to the charity.” A spokesman said the investigation began on March 7 this year – but they would not disclose the nature of the investigation. It was not prompted by a complaint, it said.

A spokesman for the Charity Commission said: “Our case is ongoing and we are therefore unable to comment further. We work closely with the fundraising regulator to ensure charities fundraise honestly and transparently.” Captain Tom Gin withdrawn from sale after ‘breaking charity law’

Bobby Allyn

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