Police investigate Union finances

West Yorkshire Police has told Leeds Student that they “are working with Leeds University Union” (LUU) in regards to a financial discrepancy within its accounts.

In July, LUU launched its own investigation into this discrepancy. As this paper went to print, an email was sent to all students by Antony Haddley, Union Affairs Officer, stating “there is still no clear conclusion to the investigation”. When this paper asked the Union’s CEO, Aidan Grills, if he has an idea of how much they’re working with, Grills replied “Yes”.

After further probing Grills explained that the “bank reconciliation” issue concerned “the last couple of years”. It is only this summer that the Union launched an internal and external investigation.

Grills said that he was unable to give an end date for the investigations. When asked by Leeds Student if it was possible that those responsible for the discrepancy are still employed by LUU. Grills replied “I can’t comment”, due to the police investigation.

Today’s email also states that the Union is “investigating insurance options”. According to Grills, this is the first time LUU has had to make an insurance claim of this nature. However he claimed that financial discrepancies are not unusual for organisations like LUU, which has a turn-over of £13 million a year. He added that there had been external investigations “four years ago, six years ago…when I first arrived here 10 years ago, the police arrested staff.”

Neither Haddley nor Grills could offer concrete assurances that students would be notified once the investigations are complete, saying that the decision could not be made without further consultation. For the same reason, they were also unable to promise that students will be given a figure in the future.

Antony Haddley assured Leeds Student that once the investigations are complete he will push to make as much information public as is legal. However, with no end-date for the investigations, it is possible that the current members of the Exec will no longer be in office.

When asked what students could expect to know in the future, the CEO said “it almost depends on what conclusions we reach”, but assured this paper that the Union would “act in an open and transparent way.”

The Exec team has committed itself to updating students on the progress of the investigation. Leeds Student will continue to hold the Union to account until the sum of money is made known. Anyone with information related to the discrepancy is urged to contact news@leedsstudent.org

Lucy Snow and Rehema Figueiredo

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