Daily Mirror

HRH Moneybags: ‘Truly shocking’

Charles adviser admits unease at ‘Sheikh cash’

- BY ADAM ASPINALL adam.aspinall@mirror.co.uk @MirrorAsp

A CLOSE adviser to Prince Charles has claimed “everyone felt very uncomforta­ble” after it was alleged he accepted a suitcase stuffed with €1million from a billionair­e sheikh.

The Prince of Wales is facing awkward questions after the Sunday Times reported he allegedly received €3million in total for his charity fund from Qatar’s former prime minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani.

According to the paper, the payments were made between 2011 and 2015, and on one occasion the sheikh allegedly handed €1million in cash to Charles during a meeting at Clarence House.

It is believed it was immediatel­y handed to aides who arranged for the money to be passed in full to the charity.

However, one of Charles’s former advisers who handled some of the cash said “everyone felt very uncomforta­ble about the situation”.

They added the “only thing we could do was to count the money and make a mutual record of what we’d done. And then call the bank”.

On another occasion, cash was allegedly stuffed into carrier bags from upmarket store Fortnum & Mason, which has a royal warrant from Prince Charles, 73. The report said the money was given in €500 notes, a now discontinu­ed denominati­on dubbed the “Bin Laden” for its links to terrorist financing in the past by others.

It is understood that at least one trustee of the Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund had no knowledge of the funds.

Also, none of Charles’ meetings with Sheikh Hamad, 62, appear on the Court Circular record of royal engagement­s. Royals are advised never to accept cash donations and Clarence House insists all was above board.

A Clarence House spokesman said: “Charitable donations received from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim 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.”

However Sir Alistair Graham, former chairman of the committee on standards in public life, said that the disclosure­s are “truly shocking” and would be “inconceiva­ble” to most people.

In November, Michael Fawcett, Charles’ right-hand man for decades, stepped down from his role running one of his main charities weeks after the Sunday Times claimed he had offered honours in return for donations.

The police and the Charity Commission are investigat­ing those claims.

A spokesman for the prince has said that Charles had no knowledge of the alleged offer of honours or citizenshi­p on the basis of donations.

Mr Fawcett has not commented publicly.

The antimonarc­hy campaign group Republic yesterday demanded full disclosure from Charles and said it would be writing to the prince, the Government, MPs and the Charity Commission about the issue.

Graham Smith, of Republic, said the claims raised several questions about Charles and Sheikh Hamad, including why meetings were apparently not noted on the Court Circular.

Norman Baker, a former government minister and Liberal Democrat MP, who has written a book on royal finances, said: “A million dollars in cash stuffed into Fortnum & Mason bags, or shoved into a holdall or a suitcase, and handed over behind closed doors...

“This is what one might expect from a South American drug baron, not the heir to the British throne.”

The only thing we could do was to count the money, make a record and then call the bank


 ?? ??
 ?? ?? CARRIERS Bags from store that hold two royal warrants – from the Queen and Charles
CARRIERS Bags from store that hold two royal warrants – from the Queen and Charles
 ?? ?? ROYAL VISIT Charles meets Sheikh Hamad at his residence in Doha in 2013
ROYAL VISIT Charles meets Sheikh Hamad at his residence in Doha in 2013
 ?? ?? SHOCKED Sir Alistair Graham
SHOCKED Sir Alistair Graham

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