The Sunday Times is reporting that The Prince of Wales accepted numerous cash donations from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, former Prime Minister of Qatar.
The paper reports that in one instance, Prince Charles was presented with €1 million, which was reportedly contained in carrier bags from Fortnum & Mason, the royal warrant-holding grocer to The Queen.
A suitcase containing a cash €1 million donation was also presented another time, which was accepted by the heir to the throne.
On another occasion, Charles accepted a bag containing €1 million during a private one-on-one meeting at Clarence House in 2015.
After receiving the small suitcase, it was given to advisers in the royal household who hand-counted the money. It was said to be in the form of €500 notes. Aides then asked Coutts, the bank of choice for the Royal Family, to collect the cash.
The cash donations were made between 2011 and 2015.
Each payment was deposited into the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund accounts, which manages the finances for Charles’ charities and his country Dumfries estate in Scotland. There is no suggestion anything about the payments were illegal.
It is thought several of HRH’s more senior household staff are alleged to have direct knowledge of, or involvement in, activities of the donations.
Charles’ meetings with the former Prime Minister do not appear in the Court Circular. In a normal situation, he meets foreign dignitaries in the prescience of his private secretary, who in turn takes the minutes of the meetings. On these occasions, no private secretary was present for the meetings.
The Charity Commission is examining reports to decide whether this is a matter for it to investigate.
This allegation follows the story that Michael Fawcett, a confidant of the Prince’s, fixed an honour for a Saudi billionaire in return for a donation.
The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund was approached last week. Sir Ian Cheshire, its chairman, stated: “At a few hours’ notice from The Sunday Times, we have checked into this event in the past, and confirm that the previous trustees of PWCF discussed the governance and donor relationship, (confirming that the donor was a legitimate and verified counterparty) and our auditors signed off on the donation after a specific enquiry during the audit.
“There was no failure of governance.”
He confirmed the latest donation was given in cash and said ‘that was the donor’s choice’.
When asked which donation was in was, Sir Cheshire stated: “The assurance of [the] 2015 donation has been verified from records. I believe the same assurance applied to earlier donations and look forward to confirming that in due course.”
Clarence House said: “Charitable donations received from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim were passed immediately to one of the prince’s charities who carried out the appropriate governance and have assured us that all the correct processes were followed.”
Since the story broke at the weekend, a royal source has said that Charles ‘operates on advice’.
“Situations, contexts change over the years. I can say with certainty for more than half a decade with the situation as it has evolved, this has not happened and it would not happen again … That was then, this is now.”
The Charity Commission is examining reports to decide whether this is a matter for investigation.