“Charles is unfit to be king,” said politician Norman Baker.
It was The Sunday Times that first came up with the sensational story.
Three times between 2011 and 2015, Prince Charles is said to have received cash from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani. He was Prime Minister of Qatar until 2013.
Once upon a time there was a suitcase with 1 million euros. This corresponds to around ten million kroner. Another time, the banknotes must have been in bags from the exclusive department store Fortnum & Mason, according to the newspaper.
The latter, the prince’s spokesmen in Clarence House later denied to The Times. But they have confirmed that the donations were received in cash, which is unusual with this type of sum.
Behind closed doors
The suitcase with money was handed over in a private meeting in 2015. The prince met the sheikh in Clarence House, which is Prince Charles’ home and workplace in London.
– The money was immediately transferred to one of the prince’s charities, which reviewed the agreement and assured us that all the correct procedures were followed, reads a statement from Clarence House.
The money was first counted by two of the prince’s advisers before being transferred to the charity Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund (PWCF). The fund provides scholarships for various purposes.
There is no suspicion that any of the monetary gifts were illegal. But the prince’s judgment is questioned. The case may be investigated.
– One million euros in cash stuffed into bags or a suitcase and handed over behind closed doors. This is something you might expect from a South American drug lord, but not from the heir to the British throne, says Liberal Democrat Norman Baker.
In addition to being a politician and former minister, Baker has written a book on the British royal family’s finances.
Police investigation and investigation
Both the police in London and the supervision of charities are already investigating the donation practice around Prince Charles.
Last autumn, the newspapers The Mail on Sunday and The Sunday Times wrote that one of the prince’s closest associates had arranged it so that a Saudi billionaire received British citizenship and an award for a gift of 1.5 million pounds, or over 18 million kroner, to the prince’s charitable projects.
In February this year, police began investigating the case, which is linked to another of Prince Charles’ charities, The Prince’s Foundation.
The Times now asks the following questions about Prince Charles’ judgment:
- How much did he know?
- What questions did he ask about the cash?
- How neutral is he when he represents Britain abroad?
Prince Charles visited Qatar several times after receiving money from Sheikh Hamad, including while in power.
Now comes the demands that the monetary gifts be examined.
– It is worrying that rich people can give away bags of money, said royal house commentator Dickie Arbiter when the case became known. He has previously been Queen Elizabeth’s spokesman.
He thinks Prince Charles has been naive.
– The charity’s management must investigate what happened and how, and find out where the money came from.
The Authority for Charities is now investigating whether the case should be investigated further.
– We assess the information to determine if there is a role for the audit in this case, says a spokesperson.
Sheikh Hamad’s interests
During Sheikh Hamad’s tenure as Qatar’s leader, he invested heavily in London. The Harrods department store, the skyscraper The Shard and London’s Olympic Village in 2012 are some of the projects he has funded.
The Times writes that Qatar gave Prince Charles the horse Dark Swan worth 1.8 million kroner. He also contributed to the maintenance of the Crown Prince’s castle in Scotland.
There have also been allegations that Qatar, under his leadership, financed the terrorist organization Nusra Front, which was the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda.
To that he must have said that “maybe” was the case, but not something he knew anything about.