Prince Charles denies any wrongdoing in bags-of-cash scandal

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Prince Charles’ office has denied there was any wrongdoing in the heir to the British throne accepting bags full of cash as charity donations from a Qatari politician.

The Sunday Times said the prince was given a total of 3 million euros ($3.2 million) by Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, the former prime minister of Qatar. It said the money was handed over to Charles at private meetings between 2011 and 2015 _ on one occasion in a suitcase, and on another in shopping bags from London’s Fortnum & Mason department store.

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The newspaper said the money was deposited into the accounts of the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund. 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.”

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The prince’s charitable fund told the newspaper 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.”

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Qatar’s government communications office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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.

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.

© 2022 The Canadian Press