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Prince Charles’ office has denied that there was any wrongdoing in the heir to the British throne accepting bags full of cash as charitable donations from a Qatar politician.
The Sunday Times reported that the 73-year-old was given a total of 3 million euros, or $ 3.2 million, by Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, the former prime minister of Qatar. The outlet claimed that the money was handed over to the British prince during private meetings between 2011 and 2015 – on one occasion in a suitcase and another in shopping bags from London’s department store Fortnum & Mason.
The newspaper also reported that the money was deposited in the accounts of the Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund, which provides grants to other non-profit groups that support the royal affairs and interests. It was not alleged that anything illegal was done.
Charles’ office, Clarence House, said in a statement that the donations “were immediately sent to one of the prince’s charities which carried out the proper management and have assured us that all the proper processes were followed.”
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His charity also told the outlet that it had confirmed “that the donor was a legitimate and verified counterparty … and our auditors acknowledged the donation following a specific request during the audit. There was no management failure.”
Qatar’s government communications office did not immediately respond to The Associated Press’ request for comment. Hamad has not commented publicly.
As Qatar’s prime minister between 2007 and 2013, Hamad oversaw the oil – rich state’s sovereign wealth fund, which has major real estate investments around the world, including London’s Shard skyscraper, Heathrow airport and the Harrods department store.
Charles, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II, is facing 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’ Charitable Foundation,” said a spokesman for the Charity Commission. “We will review the information to determine if there is any role for the Commission in this matter.”
Although it is not illegal for charities to accept donations in cash, checks are strongly recommended when accepting donations.
London police are currently investigating a separate allegation that people affiliated with another of the prince’s charities, the Prince’s Foundation, offered to help a Saudi billionaire secure honors and citizenship against donations. Clarence House has said that Charles had no knowledge of any such offer.
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The queen, 96, has given Charles an increasingly prominent role over the years, delegating more responsibility to her heir.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.