The Prince of Wales accepted bags containing millions of euros in cash during meetings with a senior Qatari politician, according to a report.
Prince Charles was said to have received a total of 3 million euros (£2.6 million) during meetings with Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani, the former Qatari prime minister.
The cash was delivered to the heir to the British throne in a suitcase on one occasion, a travel bag on another, as well as carrier bags from Fortnum & Mason, the luxury department store that has a royal warrant to supply the household. of the Prince. groceries.
The transfers are alleged to have occurred during meetings between the two men, including a private one-on-one meeting at Clarence House in 2015, it was claimed.
In a statement, a Clarence House spokesman said the money handed over during the 2015 meeting “was immediately passed on to one of the prince’s charities who carried out the appropriate arrangements and assured us that all the correct processes were followed.” .
The suitcase containing the cash was given to two of Charles’s advisers who are said to have counted the money by hand. Palace aides are said to have asked Coutts, the private bank that acts for the royal family, to collect the cash.
Each payment was deposited into the Prince of Wales Charitable Fund (PWCF) accounts. There is no suggestion that the payments were illegal, the sunday time reported today.
The sheikh, one of the world’s richest people, was dubbed the “man who bought London” after he used his wealth, as well as his influence in the Qatari Wealth fund, to make huge investments in London, including Shard, Harrods and the InterContinental London Park Lane. He is the owner of one of the richest soccer clubs in the world, Paris Saint-Germain.
There is no evidence that the sheikh did not intend the money to go to charity and Hamad was not available for comment, it was reported.
The charity’s chairman of the trustees confirmed to the newspaper that the 2015 donation was made and then the trustees, who have a legal duty to protect the charity’s reputation, “discussed governance and relationship with donors (confirming that the donor was a legitimate donor and verified counterparty) and our auditors approved the donation after specific consultation during the audit. There was no governance failure.”
The charity is said to have confirmed that the 2015 donation was made in cash at “donor’s choice”.
Charles and Hamad are said to have a relationship dating back several decades. In 2010, Charles was said to have pressured Hamad to shelve the £3bn redevelopment of London’s Chelsea Barracks, writing a letter telling the country’s then Prime Minister that the proposed steel and glass design by the state-backed Qatari Diar, “made my heart sink.” Later, Charles met the Emir of Qatar for tea at Clarence House, where he brought up the subject again. Qatar subsequently withdrew the plans, prompting the Candy brothers, who were overseeing the development, to initiate a £81m lawsuit. In it, they accused Qatar of giving in to the prince’s demands.
The latest claims come at an embarrassing time for the prince. Clarence House has refuted claims of a “money for access” culture in his organization, with the Metropolitan Police and Charity Commission investigating fundraising practices, including the sale of honours. It has been alleged that Charles’s closest confidant, Michael Fawcett, secured an honor for a Saudi billionaire.
Fawcett resigned from his position in Charles’s inner circle in March 2003, after a report by Sir Michael Peat identified mismanagement at Clarence House. Peat’s investigation found that Fawcett had accepted “numerous gifts in the course of royal service from him”, but cleared him of any financial wrongdoing. Fawcett continued to work for Charles independently as a repairman and party planner.
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