UK opens investigation into Russian oligarch’s charitable foundation and freezes funds
- The United Kingdom has opened an investigation into two charities founded by Russian oligarch Vyacheslav Kantor.
- The Kantor Foundation has donated at least $10 million to a private hospital in London used by the royal family.
- The charity’s bank account was frozen after the UK imposed sanctions on Cantor in early April.
The United Kingdom’s Charities Commission on Friday opened an investigation into two charities founded by Vyacheslav Moshe Kantor, a Russian businessman who was oligarchic in early April after the invasion of Ukraine.
Kantor, currently ranked as the 13th richest person in Russia on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, is a major stakeholder in Acron, one of Russia’s largest fertilizer producers.
The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth Office and Development Office announced sanctions on Cantor earlier this month, claiming Akron retains “vital strategic importance to the Russian government”.
The recently opened investigation into Cantor’s philanthropy includes the Cantor Charitable Foundation and the World Holocaust Forum Foundation. The UK Charities Commission said on Friday it had frozen the Cantor Foundation’s bank account, meaning that “no one can access or transfer funds in its account without prior approval from the Commission”.
In 2018, the Cantor Charitable Foundation donated more than $10 million to King Edward VII Hospital, a private facility in London used by the Queen and the royal family, according to the charity’s records.
The hospital used the money to build a new outpatient center named in Cantor’s honor, which opened in January 2022. A spokesperson for King Edward VII Hospital confirmed to Insider that the oligarch’s name was removed from the hospital ward after he was penalized.
“In 2018, we agreed to accept a donation from the Kantor Foundation; a UK registered and regulated charity,” the spokesperson told Insider. “This donation has been used to develop an outpatient clinic and diagnostic center that will actually benefit our patients.”
“Dr Moshe Kantor has informed us that he has decided to completely withdraw from all charitable activities in the UK,” the spokesperson added. “[He] He noted that in light of this decision, he is satisfied that his name will not be used in connection with any of the major projects funded by the Cantor Charitable Foundation.”
The European Jewish Congress said it was “extremely shocked and appalled” by the UK’s decision to sanction Cantor, who served as the organization’s head, and called for the decision to be overturned.
“Dr Kantor is a British citizen who has lived for more than three decades in Western Europe, many of whom have spent in the United Kingdom,” the European Commission for the Judiciary said in a statement issued on 6 April. who devoted his life to the security and well-being of the Jewish communities in Europe and to combating anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia.”
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the wave of sanctions, including those against Cantor, showed “the Russian elite cannot wash their hands of atrocities committed on Putin’s orders”, adding that the UK and its allies “will not calm down until Ukraine prevails.” .