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Prince Charles accepted £1m from family of Osama bin Laden

Future king allegedly accepted donation for his charity in 2013 but Clarence House disputes the claims
The Prince of Wales received a £1m donation for his charity from relatives of Osama bin Laden, according to a report.

The Sunday Times alleged that the future king accepted the payment from Bakr bin Laden, the patriarch of the Saudi family, and his brother Shafiq.

Prince Charles, 73, is said to have held a private meeting with Bakr, 76, at Clarence House in London on 30 October 2013, two years after Osama bin Laden was shot dead by US special forces at a compound near Islamabad in Pakistan, according to the newspaper.

Clarence House strongly disputes many of the claims, saying the decision to accept the donation to his charity, the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund (PWCF), was taken solely by trustees.

Bakr and Shafiq bin Laden are half-brothers of Osama, related to the founder of al-Qaida through their father Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, a Yemeni-born billionaire.

There is no suggestion that Bakr or Shafiq bin Laden has sponsored or been involved in acts of terrorism.

Sir Ian Cheshire, chairman of the Prince of Wales Charitable Foundation (PWCF), where the money was deposited, said in a statement: “The donation from Sheik Bakr Bin Laden in 2013 was carefully considered by PWCF Trustees at the time.

“Due diligence was conducted, with information sought from a wide range of sources, including government. The decision to accept the donation was taken wholly by the Trustees.

“Any attempt to suggest otherwise is misleading and inaccurate.”

A source close to the charity said after a thorough examination of the issues, the trustees concluded that the actions of one Bin Laden family member should not tarnish the whole family.

A Clarence House spokesperson said: “The Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund has assured us that thorough due diligence was undertaken in accepting this donation. “The decision to accept was taken by the charity’s Trustees alone and any attempt to characterise it otherwise is false.”

A source disputed suggestions that the prince had personally brokered the deal, had agreed to the donations despite advisers’ objections and that several advisers pleaded with him in person to return the money.

The source also denied that the Prince was urged to return the money and was told the sum “would not be good for anybody”.

It comes a month after it emerged that the Prince of Wales accepted bags containing millions of euros in cash during meetings with the former prime minister of Qatar.

Last week, the Charity Commission said it would take no further action over the reports that Charles was given a total of €3m (£2.6m) during meetings with Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani.

The Sunday Times reported that the cash was handed to the Prince of Wales in a suitcase on one occasion, a holdall on another, as well as in Fortnum & Mason carrier bags, the upmarket department store which holds a royal warrant to supply the prince’s household with groceries.

The handovers were alleged to have occurred during meetings between the two men, including a private one-to-one meeting at Clarence House in 2015.

Each payment was deposited into the accounts of the PWCF and there is no suggestion the payments were illegal.

A Clarence House spokesperson said in June the money given during the 2015 meeting 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”.
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