The Mail on Sunday has published a misleading piece entitled “Secretive institute behind Boris and Gove's Brexit letter to 'hijack' Number 10 faces probe by charity watchdog”. The story uses covert telephoto lens photography, unproven hearsay, false associations, anonymous sources and make-believe to create a damaging impression of our work.
The Legatum Institute Foundation flatly denies the insinuations of this confection of distortions, innuendo, mistaken identity and hearsay.
We regard this story, and previous coverage by the Mail on Sunday, as a deliberate attempt to undermine the integrity of the Legatum Institute Foundation.
Read the Legatum Institute foundation response here.
This note clarifies and corrects some of the points made in this article about The Legatum Institute Foundation.
For a response to accusations about The Legatum Group in The Sunday Times, you can find a statement here:
The Legatum Institute Foundation is being “probed” by the Charity Commission.
In recent weeks, The Legatum Institute Foundation and its supporters have been subject to a series of misleading and false allegations, notably in the Mail on Sunday. These have a significant bearing on our work, and risk significant harm to our reputation, and therefore are relevant to our regulator, the Charity Commission.
Last week, The Legatum Institute Foundation proactively notified the Charity Commission of these false allegations and is sharing evidence to demonstrate how the activities of The Legatum Institute Foundation are in line with relevant guidelines, as well as the steps we have taken to protect our independence and advance our research and educational work.
We are determinedly non-partisan. We guard our independence vigorously. We are not party political and do not promote any particular party policies. We remain open to all ideas and policies that will help move people from poverty to prosperity. We go where the evidence leads us.
For more on this see our statement issued last week:
And to this page more broadly about our work as a charity.
Christopher Chandler and Russia.
For more on Mr Chandler’s business background, see today’s statement from the Legatum Group:
For further background, please see statements from The Legatum Institute Foundation and The Legatum Group from last week:-
Attendance at The Legatum Institute Foundation Events and Building.
The Legatum Institute Foundation condemns the use of covert telephoto lens journalism at a time when the staff and friends of the Institute had a reasonable expectation of privacy. Far from the impression of secrecy created by the piece, it is worth noting that 5,000 people pass through the Institute’s doors each year and it hosts dozens of events for a wide range of participants each year.
As a Founder and friend of the Institute, Christopher Chandler had scheduled many months ago to be in London this week for the launch of the Prosperity Index at Tate Britain. This is the Institute’s premier event of the year with 300 guests including a wide range of supporters, some of our 40 donors, and stakeholders.
Please note that the third person in the photograph is Doug Balfour, the CEO of Geneva Global, an international philanthropic advisory firm (www.genevaglobal.com). The three men were discussing the Legatum Group’s many philanthropic endeavours which have touched the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world, focusing on helping the poorest and most vulnerable in society. Following their meeting, and immediately after the Mail on Sunday’s photograph was taken, the trio group had lunch at Pret A Manger on Berkeley Square.
You can find more details Legatum’s broad range of philanthropic work around the world at:
The Legatum Institute Foundation Internal Matters
It is not true that many Legatum Institute Foundation staff were fired last year. To our knowledge, no one left the Legatum Institute due to our research on how to make the best of the people’s decision regarding Brexit. The Legatum Institute is apolitical, we focus on excellent research, truth and pragmatic solutions. The Legatum Institute has employed and continues to employ people with disparate political and policy viewpoints, including with respect to Brexit.
During the build-up to the momentous referendum last June, the Legatum Institute was neutral on the issue of Brexit, and our team—from our core staff to the experts on our Special Trade Commission—held a range of views on which outcome would be best for Britain. In the aftermath of the referendum, the Institute is committed to achieving the best deal possible for Britain.
We are confused by the suggestion that people left the Institute claiming that some felt ‘uncomfortable’. It is not something that was ever raised with The Legatum Institute Foundation’s management at the time before today. Both Philippa and The Legatum Institute Foundation are committed to the human flourishing of every single person, no matter their gender, beliefs, colour, sexual orientation or political views. The whole point of our work is to ensure that every person has the opportunity to flourish. It is for this reason that we created our Prosperity Index which tracks these freedoms and why we highlighted at our Prosperity Index event on Wednesday our concern for where nations had seen a decline in any form of tolerance. These values are expressed on a daily basis in the life of the Institute.
Regarding Toby Baxendale, The Legatum Institute Foundation is proud that Mr. Baxendale, a successful British entrepreneur and philanthropist, is one of its Trustees. By way of a correction, he has been actively engaged with the organization since 2014.
Our work on Brexit.
It is not true that Philippa Stroud is blindly committed to a hard Brexit and believes it will bring ‘glory’ to Britain. Philippa Stroud does not think this and has never said anything of the sort. Philippa had no strong views on Brexit, and given the democratic vote of the British people, has sought to find ways in which Britain can achieve the best deal possible following the referendum result.
It is not true that Shanker Singham was a co-author of the letter to the PM. We repeat what we said on this matter last week. Upon request, Shanker Singham at times shares his insights and expertise with parliamentarians (including members of the Government), members of the civil service and the business community, when invited to do so, because of his significant knowledge and expertise in the areas of economics and trade policy.
It is not true that The Legatum Institute Foundation is the hidden intellectual driving force behind the Government’s Brexit plans. We are perplexed by the absurd accusation that we are having an undue influence on Brexit: there are four members of the Legatum Institute Foundation team that work on Brexit-related issues, while the Government has thousands of civil servants at its disposal to advise them on Brexit.
At a time when the country needs to come back together and unite, the Mail on Sunday continues to seek to divide us from one another in a further attack in this week’s paper. This week the MoS has re-heated many of the allegations it made last week which were comprehensively rebutted at the time. However, we take seriously any allegations made against us and so we wanted to respond to them here and answer any questions that may have been raised in readers’ mind.
Download the full response here.