Prince Charles faces criticism for accepting donations from the bin Laden family for his foundationAFP
Published 07/31/2022 12:18
LONDON – Prince Charles, heir to the British crown, has accepted a donation to his foundation worth 1 million pounds (R$ 6.3 million) from the bin Laden family, according to the ‘Sunday Times’. Several of his advisers reportedly advised the foundation not to accept a donation from the wealthy family of the mastermind behind the 11 September 2001 attacks, Osama bin Laden.
While members of the Saudi family – who have repudiated Osama bin Laden – are not suspected of any crime, this information adds to the attention surrounding Prince Charles’ foundation, which is under a police investigation launched in February.
This investigation aims to establish whether donations to Prince Charles’ foundation were rewarded with honorary titles and whether they were used to support an application for naturalization by a Saudi businessman, Mahfuz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfuz.
The deal on the donation of the Saudi family patriarch, Bakr bin Laden (Osama’s half-brother) and his brother Shafik, dates from 2013 during a meeting in London between Bakr bin Laden and Prince Charles, according to the Sunday Times.
Ian Cheshire, president of the foundation, says the donation was accepted at the time by all five trustees. The case, which Scotland Yard has launched an investigation into, was revealed last year and weighed heavily on the 73-year-old heir to the British throne.
His former chamberlain Michael Fawcett, known for being very close to Charles, is suspected to have used his influence to help Saudi businessman Bin Mahfuz, a generous donor to charities linked to the British monarchy, obtain a decoration.
Mahfuz, who denies any wrongdoing, reportedly donated large sums of money to restoration projects. Michael Fawcett resigned in November 2021.
An investigation was also launched last November by the British charities regulator into whether the wealthy Saudi businessman’s Mahfuz foundation has received donations intended for Prince Charles’s.
“The investigation will examine whether certain donations received by the Mahfuz foundation were intended for the organization, whether they were used in accordance with the donors’ intention and whether they should be returned,” the commission explained at the time.
The Prince Charles Foundation, established in 1986, is not regulated by this commission but depends on the Scottish charities regulator.
The latter also opened an investigation, but this time for donations of several hundred thousand euros from a Russian donor.
The Bin Laden Group, Saudi Arabia’s largest construction empire founded by Osama bin Laden’s father in 1931, has been rich for decades thanks to its proximity to the royal family. But now you’re in debt.