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Kids Company Faces Fresh Allegations Over Charity Management

Ahead of a Commons inquiry on Thursday, newspapers are reporting that former chief executive Camila Batmanghelidjh is being investigated by police.

Former Kids Company chief executive Camila Batmanghelidjh is facing further claims about the management of the charity on Thursday as she and former chair Alan Yentob prepare to be questioned by MPs on the House of Commons public administration committee.

A day after BuzzFeed News and BBC Newsnight revealed that Kids Company's trustees and the Charity Commission received warnings about serious financial concerns as early as 2002, The Times is reporting that police have "widened a sexual misconduct inquiry to examine whether Batmanghelidjh told staff that it was against the organisation's ethos to press charges after a number of violent incidents".

The paper quotes a former worker who, as Newsnight and BuzzFeed News revealed in July, was hit on the head with a snooker ball by a teenage "client" and claims he was pressured not to go to police. At the time, Batmanghelidjh told Newsnight that she remembered "hearing about the incident", but denied telling the member of staff not to contact the police.

However, the worker repeats his allegation in The Times, saying that Batmanghelidjh "phoned me and said I understand you want to press charges. I said yes. And she said, well we don't press charges against our students."

The paper goes on to name the client, Kai Steele, who is now 18, and who was convicted of murder after he stabbed a stranger in a row over a cigarette this year. The former employee told the Times: "I do genuinely believe that that was a contributing factor, that his experience at the charity showed him he could do what he wanted."

Batmanghelidjh told the paper it was "absolutely not true" that she had discouraged him from pressing charges.

The charity is also reported to have spent tens of thousands in donors' money to privately educate the children of three staff. Thursday's Daily Mail alleges that one recipient was the son of Batmanghelidjh's chauffeur, Tony Cavolli, on whom more than £32,000 was reportedly spent on a private tutor in just eight months.

The Mail had already reported how the charity helped to fund the private education of his sister.

The paper goes on to report: "Kids Company also spent more than £10,000 on Hero Wilkinson, 21, the daughter of worker Tony Wilkinson, for 'private education and living allowance'. In the third case, it spent tens of thousands on Serena Bowen, who is in her early twenties. Her mother – one of the charity's earliest staff – died of cancer when Miss Bowen was 13. It paid for the girl to have private education."

A spokesperson for the charity told the Mail: "It would have been wrong not to help just because their parents worked for the charity."

On Wednesday, BuzzFeed News and Newsnight revealed that concerns about the charity's management went back more than a decade, with Labour ministers having allegedly bailed the charity out against the advice of their civil servants. The charity shut down in August this year after the Cabinet Office attempted to claw back a £3 million grant it had handed over against the advice of its most senior civil servant. The department said the money was not being used for its intended purpose.

Thursday's hearing of the powerful Commons public administration committee will look at the events that took place prior to the charity's closure, as well as: "The extent of the Government's relationship with Kids Company, including the appropriateness of the level of Government funding distributed to the charity."