The Church of England conceded yesterday that its involvement in a controversial New York property deal now on the verge of default has left it at risk of losses that some estimates put at tens of millions of pounds.

The church will not confirm the extent of its potential liability, sustained in one of the largest and most contentious development deals in New York. That investment has since been brought low by, amongst other things, over-inflated expectations and wretched timing.

In 2006, the church was one of several institutions to invest in a high-profile $5.4bn (£3.3bn) deal, headed by Tishman Speyer, to purchase the huge Peter Cooper and Stuyvesant Town complexes, with over 11,000 apartments, on Manhattan's East Side.

Tishman is reported to be within weeks, or at most a few months, of running out of cash to service its debt, almost certainly spelling foreclosure. The church may lose as much as $70m , according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Independent