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Inquiry launched into claims money for Prince Charles’ foundation went to Saudi billionaire’s charity

The Independent logo The Independent 18/11/2021 Jon Sharman
Investigation follows resignation of one of the royal’s top confidantes - REUTERS © REUTERS

Investigation follows resignation of one of the royal’s top confidantes


Regulators have launched an investigation into whether donations to Prince Charles’ charity went instead to another group.

The Charity Commission said it had been speaking to the Mahfouz Foundation since September when press reports alleged donations were redirected to it from the Prince’s Foundation, with some later “transferred elsewhere”.

It has now begun a formal inquiry into the Mahfouz Foundation, it announced on Thursday.

The commission said officials had “concerns around the trustees’ governance and financial control” of the foundation, which was created by Saudi billionaire Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz.

In a statement, it said: “This inquiry will examine whether certain donations received by the Mahfouz Foundation were intended for the charity, have been used in accordance with the donors’ intentions and if they should be returned to the donor or otherwise applied for charitable purposes.”

Investigators will also consider “whether the trustees have carried out their legal duties and responsibilities as trustees in line with charity law”. The scope of the probe can be widened if necessary.

Video: Prince Charles lands in Barbados (Sky News)

A report will be published once the investigation is complete.

The Independent has contacted the Mahfouz Foundation and Prince’s Foundation for comment.

It comes just days after Michael Fawcett, one of Charles’s closest confidantes and chief executive of the Prince’s Foundation, resigned following claims he had promised to help secure a knighthood and British citizenship for Dr Bin Mahfouz.

The tycoon has donated generously to the Prince of Wales’ foundation. Charles has denied all knowledge of the alleged cash-for-honours arrangement.

Separately, Scotland’s charity regulator is investigating the Prince’s Foundation after it accepted a six-figure donation from a Russian businessman.

It said in September it wanted to “better understand the use of the organisation’s funds, and to gain a full understanding of the work which is being undertaken by the charity’s trustees to investigate the range of issues which have been raised” by press reports about the donation.

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