Kids Company founder urges judge to spare her the ‘stress’ of a court case over the charity’s financial meltdown after taking £42m of public money
- Camila Batmanghelidjh’s solicitor said it would be a ‘blessing’ if she was let off
- She argued she was ‘not involved in the governance’ of the company at a hearing
- Kids Company was found to have a catalogue of failures before its 2015 collapse
The controversial founder of the defunct Kids Company charity yesterday begged to be spared the ‘stress’ of court proceedings.
Camila Batmanghelidjh asked a judge to help her avoid taking the blame for its financial meltdown.
Her solicitor told the High Court it would be a ‘blessing’ if she was let off, adding: ‘It would save time, cost and stress for her.’
Camila Batmanghelidjh (pictured) asked a judge to help her avoid taking the blame for its financial meltdown
Kids Company, which helped troubled children in south London, was given £42million of public money, including £3million sanctioned by David Cameron just days before its collapse in 2015.
But an inquiry found an ‘extraordinary catalogue of failures’ at the charity and now the Insolvency Service is trying to impose a six-year ban on Batmanghelidjh being a company director.
The charity’s former chairman Alan Yentob, an ex-BBC executive, and six others also face three-year bans.
At a preliminary court hearing yesterday, Batmanghelidjh argued she should escape blame because although she was ‘heavily involved’ in the charity, she was ‘not involved in the governance’.
At a preliminary court hearing yesterday, Batmanghelidjh argued she should escape blame because although she was ‘heavily involved’ in the charity, she was ‘not involved in the governance’
Her solicitor, James Nicholls, complained that ‘stones are being thrown at her by the official receiver’, who has amassed 56 lever arch files of evidence, which he described as ‘a plethora of noise’.
Although Batmanghelidjh was not a director at the time the charity collapsed, she was described at a previous inquiry as the ‘unaccountable and dominant’ chief executive who regarded Kids Company as ‘her personal fiefdom’.
The Insolvency Service is arguing that she was a ‘de facto director’, and should be banned.
Her solicitor asked for a separate hearing to decide whether she could be excused from the case.
Although Batmanghelidjh (pictured at the House of Commons in 2015) was not a director at the time the charity collapsed, she was described at a previous inquiry as the ‘unaccountable and dominant’ chief executive who regarded Kids Company as ‘her personal fiefdom’
But Gareth Tilley, for the official receiver, said it would be better if all eight defendants faced trial at the same time so that the court could get ‘the full picture’.
He said it was not yet known whether Batmanghelidjh and the board directors might blame each other for the collapse, to which Deputy Insolvency and Companies Court Judge Middleton replied: ‘It does have the “cut-throat” feel about it doesn’t it?’
He threw out Batmanghelidjh’s application and rejected her request to be given longer than her co-defendents to file her defence, so she could see what they said.
‘She wants to see the other directors’ evidence before she puts pen to paper? Your client just has to say the truth,’ he told her.
Inquiries have previously found Kids Company gave brown envelopes stuffed with cash to troubled children as a matter of course.
Twelve-year-old clients were given £150 trainers, while others were flown first class to America.
Some £50,000 was allegedly spent on taxis at the charity’s Christmas party, and Batmanghelidjh had the use of a driver.
She denies all the allegations against her. The case continues.