London (AFP) – Footballer Didier Drogba said Thursday he would take legal action against Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper after it published allegations that most of the money raised by his charity in Britain was not going to good causes.
The newspaper reported that less than one percent of over £1.7 million (2.1 million euros, $2.4 million) raised by Drogba’s charity in the past five years had gone to help children in the former Chelsea star’s homeland of Ivory Coast.
It claimed that most of the donations to the Didier Drogba Foundation had been spent on glitzy events for celebrity supporters or was sitting untouched in bank accounts.
Only £14,115 of the cash raised in Britain was reportedly spent on good causes, the paper said.
But Drogba — currently under contract with Canadian Major League Soccer team Montreal Impact — hit back, saying the report had caused an “untold amount of damage”.
“Despite sending legal letters and 67 pages worth of documents advising the Daily Mail that their information was factually incorrect and libellous, they have decided to ignore the facts so I am issuing legal proceedings against them today,” the footballer said in a statement issued by his publicist in London.
“There is no fraud, no corruption, no mismanagement, no lies, no impropriety.”
The Charity Commission, Britain’s official charities watchdog, confirmed it would investigate the claims after being contacted by the Mail, saying it had “serious regulatory concerns”.
“The commission has concerns about the administration of the charity and the oversight provided by trustees, all of whom appear to live abroad, as well as allegations that the charity has provided misleading information to donors and the public,” chief operating officer David Holdsworth said.
“Further, the charity has raised and accumulated significant sums of money that have not yet been spent and further information is required over the plans to spend those funds,” he added.