Prince Charles Accepted Bags Full of $3 Million in Cash as Charity Donation from Qatari Politician: Report

·3 min read

Prince Charles is in the hot seat once again over donations to his charities.

The royal, 73, reportedly accepted almost $3 million in cash, which was handed to him at his office in bags, from Sheikh Hamad bin Jasseim bin Jaber Al Thani, the former prime minister of Qatar, according to The Sunday Times. The money was a donation to Charles' Prince of Wales Charitable Fund, which gives grants to other non-profit groups that reflect the prince's interests.

The sheikh gave Charles three separate donations totaling $3.1 million over a period between 2011 and 2015, The Sunday Times reports. One bundle of cash was given during a private meeting between Charles and Sheikh Hamad. The money was then counted by two aides at the palace and passed along to royal bank Coutts for deposit in the fund.

There is "no suggestion that the payments were illegal," the Times added.

Charles's office at Clarence House said in a statement on Monday: "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."

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales smiles as he departs the CHOGM opening ceremony at Kigali Convention Centre
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales smiles as he departs the CHOGM opening ceremony at Kigali Convention Centre

Chris Jackson - Pool/Getty Images Prince Charles at CHOGM on Friday

Sheikh Hamad has not commented.

Charles now faces the possibility of an investigation by The Charity Commission — the governing body of the charity world in Britain. A spokesman for the Charity Commission confirms in a statement: "We are aware of reports about donations received by The Prince of Wales's Charitable Foundation. We will review the information to determine whether there is any role for the Commission in this matter."

Prince Charles - CHOGM Opening Ceremony at Kigali Convention Centre
Prince Charles - CHOGM Opening Ceremony at Kigali Convention Centre

Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

It is not illegal for charities to accept donations in cash, however, the regulator of non-profits in the U.K. recommends that a series of checks for due diligence is carried out when accepting donations.

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An expert on royal finances said that Charles' behavior was "grubby." Norman Baker told The Times on Monday: "A million euros in cash stuffed into bags, or shoved into a holdall or a suitcase, and handed over behind closed doors is what you might expect from a South American drug baron, not the heir to the British throne. This is grubby, scuzzy behavior, which reinforces the view many are reaching, that Charles is not fit to be king."

Prince Charles
Prince Charles

Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

The furor comes just months after another one of Charles's charities, The Prince's Foundation — which is not connected to his Charitable Fund — was caught up in cash for official honors allegations. The Metropolitan Police has launched an investigation and the head of the Foundation, Michael Fawcett, stepped down in November amid the inquiry.

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The Sunday Times and The Mail on Sunday reported allegations that Fawcett helped support a campaign for official honors for Saudi businessman Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz. A letter from Fawcett to an aide to Mahfouz in August 2018, published by the Mail on Sunday, reportedly said, "In light of the ongoing and most recent generosity of His Excellency ... I am happy to confirm to you, in confidence, that we are willing and happy to support and contribute to the application for Citizenship."

Charles's office responded at the time, saying, "The Prince of Wales has no knowledge of the alleged offer of honours or British citizenship on the basis of donation to his charities and fully supports the investigation now underway by The Prince's Foundation."