Charity directors with links to far right arrested for fraud

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Question marks remain over veterans' charity   

21st March 2016 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Three directors linked to a veterans charity have been arrested on suspicion of fraud.

The trio, from the UK charity Soldiers Off The Street (SOTS), have been released on police bail after being questioned over allegations of charity trustees gaining financially between 2010 and 2016.

Hugh William Murray, 66, the chairman, from Prestatyn, north Wales, was arrested with his partner Maria Ellis, who acts as secretary.

Christopher Robinson, 54, a former director who resigned in 2010, is believed to be the third person arrested.

SOTS has a registered office in Cadzow Street, Hamilton.

Its website says: “Our aim is to get as many homeless veterans off the streets and back into normal, civilian life as possible. None of us receives a wage of any kind and we all fit our work with Soldiers Off The Street – Scotland around our own jobs and family life.”

Previously the charity has courted controversy over its links with the far right British National Party (BNP) where Murray holds the position of Welsh secretary. 

This information has been leaked to lose the charity support and would only affect the homeless veterans we are trying to help

A posting on the charity’s Facebook page said: “The three involved are devastated that this information has been leaked as even their families do not know as they did not want to cause them stress and worry as the allegations are unfounded. They have not been charged.

"To date they have not been shown any evidence that justifies an arrest in the first place and feel this information has been leaked to lose the charity support and would only affect the homeless veterans we are trying to help.” 

In 2012 the public was urged not to donate to the charity during a “weekend of action” in Edinburgh.

Alex Lunn, SNP councillor, said: “I would urge all people, whether Edinburgh residents or tourists, to avoid this group and avoid giving them money.”

And last October David Davies, Tory MP for Monmouth, questioned the credentials of the group.

He said: “I am very concerned that a charity with close links to the BNP has been collecting money in Monmouth.

“However, I am worried that the huge support which exists within the town for the armed forces is being exploited.”

A spokesman for the Charity Commission confirmed that it had concerns with SOTS. “The Charity Commission proactively identified concerns regarding the registered charity Soldiers Off The Street through its monitoring and oversight of the sector,” he said.

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