Shane Warne has slammed allegations of financial impropriety at his personal charity as "malicious and false" in an online tirade targeted at the media.
The screed, posted on his Facebook page on Sunday, comes amid growing concerns over potential financial mismanagement at the Shane Warne Foundation, which has prompted an independent audit by the consumer watchdog into the embattled charity.
"Woken this morning to more malicious attacks and false allegations about the Shane Warne Foundation," the Australian cricket legend said.
Please read this about The Shane Warne Foundation !
Ps Would appreciate everyone retweeting this, Thankyou !!— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) January 23, 2016
"It's a real shame that certain journalists are continuing this ridiculous crusade / personal vendetta against the foundation & I can't understand why.
"We have saved children's lives & without our support would not be on this planet."
Warne said the charity had raised almost $8 million of which it had given away $3.6 million. He said more than 125 charities had benefited from the foundation's activities.
He described the audit as a disgrace and absurd, saying it "would go down as an expense".
Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) has ordered an audit following a failure by the charity to submit important financial documents by a deadline in late 2015, News Corp Australia reports.
“CAV subsequently made a number of requests for the required financial information however what was provided was not sufficient,” a spokesman for the watchdog told Fairfax Media and News Corp Australia on Sunday.
Shane Warne's charity ordered to submit audit of books to Consumer Affairs Victoria https://t.co/ZyZsur0wb1— ABC News Melbourne (@abcnewsMelb) January 23, 2016
The news of the audit comes after Fairfax Media reported this week that Warne is considering shutting down the charity amid the ongoing dramas.
Warne has denied those claims, saying the board has not decided on the future of the foundation.
Shane Warne Foundation to be audited by Consumer Affairs Victoria https://t.co/T2kYNVPltK— The Australian (@australian) January 23, 2016
The Huffington Post Australia has sought comment from the Shane Warne Foundation on the latest reports.
They follow suggestions that Warne is scrapping the big annual event for the foundation, the Joe Hachem and Shane Warne Charity Poker Tournament. It was tipped to inject a large amount of money into the charity.
It has been claimed the Shane Warne Foundation raised $1.8 million in 3 years but only 16 cents in every dollar made it to groups that care for sick and underprivileged children.
The foundation bills itself as an "umbrella organisation" that does not favour a particular cause and spends all its time raising money for seriously ill and needy kids.
"We do this by raising as much money as we can throughout the year and donating it to a wide range of children’s charities, and individual families who apply to us for funding," it says on its website.
Until venting about the issue on Facebook today, the cricket great has appeared more focused on enjoying his Summer, keeping fans up-to-date via Twitter.
And again "I have not signed anything to do with Ch 10's jungle show". Maybe ask the one eyed Scorchers Commentator Gilly haha #BBL05— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) January 22, 2016
Those listed as on the board of the foundation include Warne as well comedian Glenn Robbins and media personality Eddie McGuire.