Cricket: Australian legend Warne's foundation announces closure after probe into funds

Shane Warne, the charity's chairman, has complained about "malicious attacks and false allegations".
Shane Warne, the charity's chairman, has complained about "malicious attacks and false allegations".PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY (AFP) - Australian cricketing legend Shane Warne's charitable foundation announced on Friday that it would close after a consumer watchdog launched a probe into its financial affairs.

The charity hit out at "unwarranted speculation" over "its distribution of funds" following local media reports that most of the money it raised went on expenses such as for staging events.

Warne, the charity's chairman, has complained about "malicious attacks and false allegations" in a Facebook post.

Consumer Affairs Victoria said last Sunday that it had ordered an independent audit into the foundation's fund-raising activities, with the regulator saying the financial information submitted by the charity had been insufficient.

In the Facebook statement announcing its imminent closure, the charity defended its financial performance.

"In response to recent, unwarranted speculation about The Shane Warne Foundation and its distribution of funds, we confirm we have distributed $3.67M to date with an additional and final substantial cheque to be distributed on March 18, 2016," it said.

"At that time, we hope to have distributed over $4M dollars. All accounts have been fully audited by KPMG, and our final accounts will also be audited for the March 18th cheque presentation."

Warne has previously said the foundation has donated an average of 50 per cent of money raised over 12 years, according to reports.

He launched an outspoken attack on the foundation's critics in a Facebook post on Saturday. "Go through everything you want at anytime as we have nothing to hide," he wrote. "The foundation puts on events to raise money pure and simple like all charities do, but unfortunately some events just don't raise as much funds as we would like."