Charles charity faces probe after ‘unusual’ donation of bags of cash from Qatari sheikh

27 June 2022, 08:51 | Updated: 27 June 2022, 09:05

Prince Charles shakes hands with the then Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim al Thani, at his residence outside Doha, Qatar in 2013.
Prince Charles shakes hands with the then Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim al Thani, at his residence outside Doha, Qatar in 2013. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

One of Prince Charles’s charities could face investigation over cash payments made by a Qatari sheikh.

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Clarence House has said the "correct processes were followed" when the Prince of Wales accepted a suitcase containing €1million from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, the former prime minister of Qatar.

It follows reports the heir to the throne personally received three separate bundles of cash, totalling €3million, for his charity the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund.

The Sunday Times reported the money was one of three payments the prince received from a former Qatari prime minister over a four-year period from 2011.

The newspaper claimed the 73-year-old accepted a holdall containing €1million during a private meeting at Clarence House in 2015.

According to Clarence House, the money was “passed immediately to one of the prince’s charities who carried out the appropriate covenants and assured us that all the correct processes were followed”.

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The Charity Commission is to consider whether it has a role to play in investigating the donations. According to the Sun, the Charity Commission may now interview trustees of the fund, including Charles.

A Charity Commission spokeswoman said: “We are aware of reports about donations received by The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund. We will review the information to determine whether there is any role for the commission in this matter.”

Environment Secretary George Eustice said it was a "bit unusual" to have such a large donation of cash when asked about the reports by Nick Ferrari at Breakfast on LBC this morning.

"What might your reaction be were a Qatari businessman to offer you €3m in carrier bags for a charity of your choice, secretary of state?" Nick asked.

"My understanding is this was immediately passed on to the charity, declared and checked in the usual way," Mr Eustice said.

"On one level of course it's a bit unusual to have such a large amount of cash."

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He said the Charity Commission is looking into the incident, adding: "We really need to let the Charity commission's work carry on."

The Charity Commission said it would review information about the donations, made in €500 notes between 2011 and 2015.

There is no suggestion the payments were illegal.

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Donations were deposited into the accounts of the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund, which offers grants to other non-profits in areas of interest to Charles.

The fund told the Sunday Times that its trustees had concluded that the donor was legitimate and its auditors had signed off on the donation.

Prince Charles accepted large cash donations totalling three million euros from the former Qatari prime minister, Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim al Thani, the Sunday Times has reported.
Prince Charles accepted large cash donations totalling three million euros from the former Qatari prime minister, Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim al Thani, the Sunday Times has reported. Picture: Alamy

Clarence House said in a statement: “Charitable donations received from Sheikh 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.”

The Northern Ireland secretary, Brandon Lewis, said the donations the Prince of Wales is alleged to have received from the former prime minister of Qatar would have gone through “proper due process”.

“This isn’t a government issue, but what I have seen is the palace have been very clear, that all moneys go through proper due process, the charities obviously go through proper due process,” Mr Lewis told the BBC.