LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A tycoon killed with his family in a seaplane crash in Australia on New Year’s Eve has left a 41 million pound ($52 million) fortune to the crisis-hit charity Oxfam, a British newspaper reported on Tuesday.
The bequest comes at a time when Oxfam is trying to find 16 million pounds in savings as it grapples with the fallout from a sex abuse scandal.
The charity, which has lost thousands of donors since reports earlier this year that its staff used prostitutes while working in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, said it had only recently been notified and could not confirm the amount.
“We are extremely grateful for this bequest,” Oxfam said in a statement.
Richard Cousins, 58, boss of catering giant Compass Group Plc, died with sons William, 25, Edward, 23, fiancee Emma Bowden, 48, and her daughter Heather, 11, when their plane nose-dived into the Hawkesbury River north of Sydney.
The Sun newspaper reported that some time before the crash Cousins drew up a will with a “common tragedy clause”, leaving his money to Oxfam in the event that he and his sons were killed together.
Oxfam said it was working with Cousins’ family and its board of trustees to identify how the bequest would be used.
The sum is more than twice the 19.8 million pounds the charity received from legacies in the year 2016 to 2017.
The Sun said all but 3 million pounds of Cousins’ fortune would go to the charity. Two brothers will receive 1 million pounds each.
The seaplane was part of the Sydney Seaplanes business that has operated since 2005 with no previous record of mishap.
A preliminary investigation found it was off course, but could not determine the cause of the crash, which also killed Australian pilot Gareth Morgan.
($1 = 0.7841 pounds)
Reporting by Emma Batha. Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, which covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories.