Matheson’s former children’s charity distributes €2.4m

Law firm has relinquished charitable status of entities within Matheson Foundation

The Matheson Foundation website says it has supported charities such as the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and the Centre for Talented Youth. Photograph: Eric Luke

The Matheson Foundation website says it has supported charities such as the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and the Centre for Talented Youth. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

A former children’s charity linked to Matheson, the Dublin-based corporate law firm, has emptied its bank accounts and donated almost €2.4 million to Irish charities after relinquishing its charitable status.

Before the beginning of this year, the Matheson Foundation operated as the registered charitable wing of the law firm, but it also earned fees by doubling as a shareholder services firm for tax-avoiding multinationals.

Under pressure following media and political criticism over such use of a registered children’s charity to service clients such as hedge funds, and in the midst of a review by the charities regulator, Matheson this year relinquished the charitable status of the three entities that together operated as the foundation.

The entities – formerly known as the charitable trusts Eurydice, Medb and Badb – have since been renamed. Eurydice is now called Registered Shareholder Services No 1 Company, while the other two now also have similar names, corresponding to No 2 and No 3.

2016 donations

Accounts filed recently for the three companies show that each of them made donations in 2016 of €639,000, more than six times the amount they had donated the previous year before the criticism took off.

Each of the three also emptied their bank accounts to zero, but each retained €107,000 on their balance sheets in other assets. An identical note to the accounts of each says that this cash was also “disbursed to Irish charities” since the end of 2016.

When asked to confirm the names of the charities to which it had donated the total across all three of €2.4 million, Matheson directed The Irish Times to the directors’ reports of the entities where it states it made “substantial donations”. It declined to provide any names or comment further.

The Matheson Foundation website says it has in the past supported charities such as the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and the Centre for Talented Youth.