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Monday, 1 February 2016

Kids Company

This morning sees the publication of the 'PACAC' report on the failure of 'Kids Company', the children's charity headed by the colourful Camila Batman-Ghelidjh. I first met the young  Camila Ghelidjh, as she then was, in Iran, when in 1982  she accompanied her father who came to seek my advice in connection with a matter relating to the estate of the recently-deceased Shah Mohhamad Reza Pahlavi, to whom the Ghelidjh family was distantly related. Although her father was the ostensible leader of the little delegation that sat drinking Persian tea in my office, I soon observed that Camila was the  driving force behind the enquiries into the Shah's testatory status, and switching from the mode of legal advisor to that of psychologist I readily established that hers was a most acquisitive nature.  I was not in the least surprised, therefore, when she approached me in later years to draft the now-notorious 'pre-nup' for her marriage to billionaire socialite and philanthropist Bruce Wayne, from whom she took the name Batman-Ghelidjh; and it was interesting to note from the PACAC report  that none of Camila's personal fortune was ever risked in the coffers of her charity.

Of course, the bulk of the criticism in the PACAC report is rightly directed at Alan Yentob who chaired the board of trustees which so-badly failed to instil adequate standards of governance at the failed charity. That Yentob failed can hardly be a surprise to anyone aware of his background- his only work experience has been gathered during a lifetime at the BBC, that most-introspective of organisations whose standards of governance were responsible for Jimmy Saville, and, worst still, for the £6.8m pension pot it has put aside for Yentob himself.

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