The watchdog opened a case into the charity in March 2021, a month after Sir Tom died, and began reviewing the set-up of the organisation.
This has now escalated to an inquiry after the commission became concerned about arrangements between the charity and a company linked to Sir Tom’s daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore, and her husband Colin, as well as the trustees’ decision-making and how the charity is governed.
Sir Tom became a well-known figure after raising £38 million for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday at the height of the first national Covid-19 lockdown in April 2020.
The commission said the money raised for the NHS, which was donated to NHS Charities Together, is not part of the scope of its inquiry.
The Captain Tom Foundation was registered on June 5 2020 following his fundraising efforts.
In March 2022, the publication of the first annual accounts of the foundation showed the charity incurred £240,000 in costs and gave £160,000 to good causes.
The commission said it is concerned that a “failure to consider intellectual property and trademark issues” when the charity was set up gave a private company, called Club Nook Limited, the opportunity to trademark variations of the name “Captain Tom” without objection from the charity.
This could have generated “significant profit” for the company, which is controlled by Ms Ingram-Moore and Mr Ingram-Moore, the commission added.
The inquiry, which was launched on June 16, is analysing if the trustees of The Captain Tom Foundation have been responsible for mismanagement or misconduct in the administration of the charity leading to any losses, adequately managed conflicts of interest and complied with their duties and responsibilities under charity law.
Helen Stephenson, chief executive of the Charity Commission, said: “The late Captain Sir Tom Moore inspired the nation with his courage, tenacity and concern for others. It is vital that public trust in charity is protected, and that people continue to feel confident in supporting good causes.
“We do not take any decision to open an inquiry lightly but in this case our concerns have mounted. We consider it in the public interest to examine them through a formal investigation, which gives us access to the full range of our protective and enforcement powers.”
The commission previously raised concerns about the payment of consultancy fees to third parties but said it was later “satisfied” that these specific payments were a reasonable reimbursement for expenses incurred by the companies in the formation of the charity.
It added that it was also satisfied that the payments were “adequately identified and managed”.