Scientific institution the Royal Institution is to be investigated about the letting of office space without legal permission in London.
The Royal Institution is classed as a charity, and must declare and discuss any leases to private shareholders or connected people. It then must seek approval from the Charity Commission for full approval according to the Charities Act 1993.
According to a report in The Guardian, the Royal Institution has been leasing office space to a private equity firm Ferranti, contravening regulations of the Act in place. Ferranti is run by one of the Royal Institution’s chairs Adrian de Ferranti.
The Act specifically states that leases from people connected to the charity must be disclosed and approved first. Ferranti had been leasing part of the site since December 2008
“We have asked the Royal Institution for further details of the arrangement in order to determine our role in the matter,” says a spokeswoman for the Charity Commission.
It is reported that the Royal Institution had leased office space from its Albemarle Street building, and charged regular commercial rates for the premises, which recently had an expensive refurbishment. Reports says that there are seven tenants at the premises altogether, but the Ferranti case has been the most controversial.
The institution is also under fire for an alleged luxury flat let to one of its directors. They have been facing difficult times during the recession, mainly financially, partly due to a £22 million refurbishment of their Mayfair head quarters.