THE multi-million pound estate of a late Scottish businessman is under investigation amid claims of misconduct at the charity which benefited from his fortune.

Alfred Stewart changed his will just days before his death in 2008, cutting his children out of his £7 million estate and leaving the bulk of it to a Trust set up in his name.

His children contested the will in court in 2013, claiming their father was not of sound mind when he made the changes, but a ruling was issued in favour of the charity's trustees - Clive Franks, Roano Pierotti and Gifford Bruce - who were also the executors of Mr Stewart's fortune.

Mr Franks was also the lawyer who redrafted Mr Stewart's will shortly before his death.

The solicitor, of Edinburgh-based firm Franks Macadam Brown, went on to kill himself in November last year after becoming subject to an investigation by the Law Society of Scotland over claims of missing client money.

The society has now confirmed that a judicial factor has been appointed to investigate the handling of Mr Stewart's will, while the charity regulator, OSCR, has also successfully applied to the courts for an official to investigate the charity, which was set up to fund medical research and support good causes in and around Mr Stewart's home town of Dunfermline.

A Law Society spokeswoman said: "The judicial factor considered it appropriate to seek the appointment of a judicial factor on the executry estate of the late Alfred Stewart to protect the assets of this estate, investigate fully what had occurred and ensure the estate was distributed appropriately among the beneficiaries.

"The Court of Session appointed Carole Hope of Murray Beith Murray solicitors and her investigations and administration of the estate are still ongoing."

Mr Pierotti, 55, of Bearsden, and Mr Bruce, 50, of Kirknewton, were suspended as trustees by OSCR last year and have now resigned.

The men, who had appointed themselves as directors of The Alfred Stewart Trust's business subsidiaries following the millionaire's death, also stood down from these roles earlier this year.

In an interim report OSCR said it had been made aware of a number of concerns about the running of the Trust.

The report states: "It appeared the trustees were not acting in the interests of the charity and with the care and diligence that it is reasonable to expect of a person who is managing the affairs of another person, which is a legal duty of a charity trustee."

The report also makes it clear the court official appointed to investigate Mr Franks' law firm also raised concerns about the management of the charity.

It states: "In the course of the investigation the judicial factor identified certain matters relating to the management of the charity and of the estate of the late Alfred Stewart which caused them concern.

"In their opinion, there was clear evidence of breach of trust; that conflicts of interest arose between two of the trustee’s positions in the charity, the executry and trading subsidiaries; and that funds had been mixed between the charity, the executry and trading subsidiaries.

"While our inquiries are still at an early stage, on the basis of the findings of the judicial factor and the information we have gathered so far, we are concerned that there is misconduct in the administration of the charity, and it is necessary for us to take action to protect its assets."

The investigation into the handling of Mr Stewart's estate is likely to continue for some time.

It is unclear whether Mr Stewart's children, Garry, Calum, Leonie and Linden, are likely to receive any of his fortune in light of the investigation.

A spokesman for The Alfred Stewart Trust said: "We can confirm that two trustees have resigned from the Alfred Stewart Trust. A judicial factor has been appointed by the court at the request of OSCR. We have no further comment to make at this time."

Mr Bruce said he resigned from his role at the charity for "personal reasons".

Mr Pierotti was unavailable for comment.