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Prince Charles’ office has denied any wrongdoing by the British heir to the throne when he accepted bags of cash in charity donations from a Qatari politician.
The Sunday Times reported that the 73-year-old received a total of 3 million euros, or $3.2 million, from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, former Prime Minister of Qatar. The outlet claimed the money was handed over to the British prince at private meetings between 2011 and 2015 – once in a suitcase and another time in tote bags from London department store Fortnum & Mason.
The newspaper also reported that the money was deposited into the accounts of the Prince of Wales’ Charity Fund, which awards grants to other charitable groups supporting the King’s causes and interests. There was no allegation that anything illegal was being done.
Charles’ office, Clarence House, said in a statement that the donations “were immediately passed on to one of the Prince’s charities who carried out the appropriate administration and assured us that all correct processes were followed”.
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His charity fund also told the outlet that it verified “that the donor was a legitimate and verified counterparty … and our reviewers signed off on the donation following a specific request during review.” There was no failure of governance.”
The Qatar government’s communications office did not immediately respond to The Associated Press’s request for comment. Hamad has not commented publicly.
As Prime Minister of Qatar between 2007 and 2013, Hamad oversaw the oil-rich state’s sovereign wealth fund, which has made major real estate investments around the world, including London’s Shard skyscraper, Heathrow Airport and Harrods department store.
Charles, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II, faces the possibility of an investigation by the Charity Commission, known as the governing body of charities in Britain.
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“We are aware of reports of donations received by the Prince of Wales’ Charity Foundation,” said a spokesman for the Charity Commission. “We will review the information to see if the Commission has a role to play in this matter.”
While it is not illegal for charities to accept cash donations, checks are strongly encouraged when accepting donations.
London Police are currently investigating a separate allegation that people linked to another of the Prince’s charities, the Prince’s Foundation, have offered to help a Saudi billionaire gain honors and citizenship in exchange for donations. Clarence House said Charles was not aware of any such offer.
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The Queen, 96, has given Charles an increasingly prominent role over the years, giving her heir more responsibility.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.