London, November 29 : Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber has been involved in a legal row after his foundation was accused of buying a 19th century masterpiece with the help of nearly 1million pounds of taxpayers' money.
'St Cecilia', bought by The Andrew Lloyd Webber Art Foundation for 6.6 million pound in 2000, has been alleged to have been funded through the "gift aid" scheme that permits charities to claim tax relief on donations.
The painting had been loaned to the Brit composer, who had hung the artwork in his home and offices for seven out of the last 29 months and paid 3,847 pounds in rent to his foundation.
The court battle, due to be carried out next year, had arisen after HM Revenue and Customs claimed that not enough rent was being paid to the foundation.
Lord Lloyd-Webber told The Telegraph that he was "baffled and saddened by this case and the tragic waste of large sums of money which could otherwise have been used for charitable purposes".
"The exhibition of my entire collection and the foundation's collection at The Royal Academy in 2003 stands testimony to that and the Foundation's St Cecilia has been regularly loaned," he added.
The playwright owns 450 paintings, including Picasso's Absinthe Drinker from his Blue Period, valued at 35million pounds, in his private collection, and has given four of them - worth 34milllion pounds - to his foundation that then lends them to galleries around the world.