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Damian Aspinall, the casino owner and socialite, is the son of the charity's founder and its board of trustees includes Ben Goldsmith, the brother of government minister Zac Goldsmith, who is a friend of Carrie Johnson and the prime minister.

It solicits donations directly from the public, employing a team of fundraisers for the purpose, as well as running a fundraising lottery and asking for animals to be sponsored.

The chairman's wife, Victoria Aspinall, had previously been paid £12,500 for interior design services in 2019, but her fees went up by more than tenfold in 2020 to a sum equivalent to 10% of donations taken that year. The charity also has large reserves in cash, property and fine art.

In its accounts, the Aspinall Foundation said the transaction was "at arms length" and added that the fees charged by Victoria Aspinall were "subject to a rigorous benchmarking exercise to ensure the foundation received value for money".

The charity also paid £124,231 for accountancy work undertaken by Alvarium, a company of which another trustee, Charles Filmer, was a director.

In 2020 the foundation's trustees, Damian Aspinall, Filmer, Robin Birley and Ben Goldsmith, secured a coronavirus business interruption loan of £2m, interest free for the first year. This was passed on in the form of a loan to the Howletts Wild Animal Trust.

by Oui on Sun Nov 14th, 2021 at 02:59:02 PM EST
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