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Prince Charles’ office has denied there was any wrongdoing in the heir of the British throne accepting bags full of cash as charity donations from a Qatari 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 alleged 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 Fortnum & Mason department store.
The newspaper also reported that the money was deposited into the accounts of the Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund, which gives grants to other non-profit groups that support the royal’s causes and interests. It did not allege that anything illegal was done.
Charles’ office, Clarence House, said in a statement that the donations “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.”
His charitable fund also told the outlet it had verified “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.”
Qatar’s government communications office did not immediately respond to The Associated Press’ request for comment. Hamad has not publicly commented.
As Qatar’s prime minister between 2007 and 2013, Hamad oversaw the oil-rich state’s sovereign wealth fund, which has major property investments around the world, including London’s Shard skyscraper, Heathrow Airport and Harrods department store.
Charles, who is Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest son, faces the possibility of an investigation by The Charity Commission, known as the governing body of charities in Britain.
“We are aware of reports about donations received by The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation,” said a spokesman for the Charity Commission. “We will review the information to determine whether there is any role for the Commission in this matter.”
While it’s 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 associated with another of the prince’s charities, the Prince’s Foundation, offered to help a Saudi billionaire secure honors and citizenship in return for donations. Clarence House has said Charles had no knowledge of any such offer.
The queen, 96, has given Charles an increasingly prominent role over the years, delegating more responsibilities to her heir.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.