Shane Warne shuts down controversial charity

Melbourne, Jan 29 (IANS) Australian cricket legend Shane Warne has shut his charity foundation in the face of “unwarranted speculation” that it has misappropriated funds.

Warne, who claimed 708 Test wickets during his illustrious 15-year career, announced on Friday that The Shane Warne Foundation (TSWF) would close its doors, following the completion of an audit by Consumers Affairs Victoria (CAV), reports Xinhua.

“In response to recent, unwarranted speculation about TSWF and its distribution of funds, we confirm we have distributed ($2.61 million) to date with an additional and final substantial cheque to be distributed on March 18, 2016. At that time, we hope to have distributed over ($2.85 million),” the statement read.

“TSWF officially announces it is ceasing operations and has begun the process of closing the foundation, we will celebrate so many incredible achievements.”

The statement also thanked the foundation’s many big-name backers and ambassadors, including Australian billionaire James Packer.

The foundation, which raises money for sick and underprivileged youth, attracted the ire of CAV after it failed to file its annual statement, a legal requirement for all Australian charities, last year.

CAV had been monitoring the charity before calling for a complete audit of its operations late last year.

Recent reports in the Australian media have claimed that TSWF only passes on 16 cents of every dollar donated.

Although the 46-year-old is one of sport’s true worldwide icons for his on-field exploits, the “Spin King” of Australia has also courted considerable controversy throughout his career.

In 2003, Warne received a 12-month ban from the International Cricket Council (ICC) after testing positive for Diuretics, a prohibited substance under WADA’s Anti-Doping Code due to being classed as a powerful masking agent.

His well-known womanising also led to several media scandals and the breakdown of his first marriage.

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