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Prince Charles charity files report over $3m Qatari donations

A source close to Prince Charles said such large donations would not happen again Reuters/Jane Barlow
A source close to Prince Charles said such large donations would not happen again

A charity linked to the UK’s Prince Charles has submitted a serious incident report to the government’s charity regulator, after it was reported that the royal had received payments of €3 million ($3.08 million) from a Qatari politician.

The Sunday Times reported on June 25 that the heir to the British throne had received three donations from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, a former prime minister of Qatar, between 2011 and 2015.

One payment, the newspaper reported, consisted of €1 million in cash placed inside carrier bags from luxury department store Fortnum & Mason.

In a statement to The Sunday Times, Clarence House, the royal’s official residence, said 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”.

The charity in question was The Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund, which was founded in 1979 to support sustainable projects. Over the last 20 years, the charity has awarded grants of more than £70 million ($83.77 million) to charitable projects in the UK and overseas.

The Charity Commission, the government body responsible for the registering and regulating of charities in England and Wales, said in a statement to AGBI last week it was “aware of reports about donations received by The Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund.” 

Crowd, Person, HumanCreative Commons
Former Qatar Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani

“We will review the information to determine whether there is any role for the Commission in this matter,” it added.

The commission pointed out that charities are permitted to accept donations, but it is the responsibility of the charity trustees to undertake appropriate due diligence before accepting them.

The charity regulator also confirmed that The Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund had submitted a serious incident report, providing information about the governance processes the trustees followed in accepting the donations in question.

According to the commission’s guidance on its website, a serious incident report is submitted by charity trustees if there are suspicions surrounding a donation, “especially if significant sums of money or other property are donated to the charity from an unknown or unverified source.” 

“This could include an unusually large one-off donation or a series of smaller donations from a source you cannot identify or check. The commission would expect trustees to report any such payment (or payments) totalling £25,000 or more,” it added.

Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani was prime minister of Qatar from 2007 to 2013. He oversaw the acquisition of high profile assets in London, including Harrods, the Shard, London’s Olympic Village and Park Lane’s InterContinental hotel.

In a statement to the BBC, a source close to Prince Charles said such large donations would not happen again in the future and downplayed the 73-year-old royal’s involvement.

“That was then, this is now,” the source told the BBC. “It was passed immediately to his charity and it was his charity who decided to accept the money.”

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