Kids Company founder tells court she avoided being director of charity

‘I don’t know what day it is’: Kids Company founder tells court neurological condition means she avoided being a director of the charity

  • Camila Batmanghelidjh fighting being banned from being a company director
  • She said she was chief executive, not director, and was accountable to trustee  
  • Charity collapsed in 2015 despite warnings over finances after given £3m grant  

The founder of Kids Company said she could not have been a director of the failed charity because she ‘does not know what month or day it is’, the High Court heard yesterday.

Camila Batmanghelidjh is fighting against being banned from holding a company directorship for six years.

The children’s charity collapsed in 2015 despite repeated warnings over its perilous financial state – just days after it was given a £3million government grant. 

Camila Batmanghelidjh (pictured) is fighting against being banned from holding a company directorship for six years

In total it received £42million of taxpayer cash.

In a statement released as part of the case, Miss Batmanghelidjh said she was chief executive, rather than a director, and was accountable to its trustees. 

The board included former BBC creative director Alan Yentob, a co-defendant in the case.

The Official Receiver, which is bringing the case, says she was a ‘de facto director’ of the charity who told employees it would be run ‘in accordance with her vision above all else’ and ‘people who did not agree should leave’.

But citing reasons why she avoided a director role, Miss Batmanghelidjh said she was born prematurely which adversely affected her neurological development.

This means she struggles to read and write and cannot type, she said.

The 57-year-old added: ‘I do not have a proper sense of what month we are in, what day it is and I have a poor short-term memory but, perhaps confusingly, a very good long-term memory.’

She said that while she created the concept of Kids Company in 1996, she would ‘never have taken on the challenge of being director’ and had ‘around me highly capable people to undertake the functions that would be beyond me’.

Kids Company was backed by politicians including David Cameron (pictured with Miss Batmanghelidjh), Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and received £42million of taxpayer cash

Kids Company was backed by politicians including David Cameron, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. 

Sources previously claimed Mr Cameron was ‘mesmerised’ by Miss Batmanghelidjh, with his Government giving millions to the charity.

Miss Batmanghelidjh claimed the charity’s demise could have come about as part of an attack on Mr Cameron ahead of the Brexit referendum.

In her statement, she said: ‘I believe the demise of Kids Company may have been politically driven both to silence its child protection advocacy and attack David Cameron in preparation for the Brexit referendum.’

The Official Receiver’s case is that Miss Batmanghelidjh and seven other senior employees should be banned from being company directors over repeated failures to stop the charity’s collapse.

The hearing continues.

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