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Tuesday, 29 October, 2002, 20:46 GMT
Receivers sent in to church
The Victory Christian Centre
Parishioners donated 3m to the centre last year
One of the country's wealthiest evangelical churches is being investigated by the Charity Commission over the alleged misuse of funds.

A receiver and manager were sent in to temporarily take over the Victory Christian Centre in Kilburn, north west London on Tuesday.

The move is part of a six-month investigation into the church, a registered charity, following allegations from members of the congregation that cash was being misused.

Parishioners donated more than 3.5m to the Victory Christian Centre last year and the church, established 14 years ago, has doubled in size in the past year.

Missionary work

The charity commission is investigating whether the senior pastor and some members of his family have benefited inappropriately from money given to the church.

The charity's main activities include twice weekly sermons to congregations of up to 1,000, benevolence payments and missionary work.

The commission's director of operations, Simon Gillespie, told BBC London: "It is not about winding up this charity at all, this charity, we believe, has got a future to it.

"The whole point about putting a receiver manager in is to put things on an even keel, find out what's happening and allow the charity to grow and develop in the future."

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BBC London's Kurt Barling
"The trustees were shocked by this morning's move"

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