Prince Charles was asked about reports that he accepted a suitcase full of €1 million in cash from a Qatari sheikh
The Sunday Times reported that Prince Charles was handed the suitcase by Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, a Qatari politician and former Prime Minister of Qatar.
The money was one of three charitable donations Prince Charles reportedly received from Sheikh Hamad.
Another such donation, also worth €1 million, was presented to Prince Charles by Sheikh Hamad in Fortnum and Mason tote bags, according to the Sunday Times.
The three gifts went to Prince Charles between 2011 and 2015.
The case involving the suitcase of money allegedly took place during a meeting between the Prince of Wales and Sheikh Hamad at Clarence House in 2015.
The suitcase is said to have contained €1m in €500 notes, which were hand counted by two royal advisers and then collected by Coutts Bank.
However, there is no indication that Prince Charles acted in any way illegally in accepting the cash.
What did Prince Charles say about the money?
A spokesman for Clarence House, the Prince of Wales’s press office, said: “Charity donations received from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim were immediately passed on to one of the Prince’s charities who carried out the appropriate administration and have assured us that all processes correctly had followed.”
What was the money for?
The Sunday Times reported that the three donations totaling €3 million (£2,583,000) were deposited into bank accounts of the Prince of Wales Charitable Fund (PWCF) once received.
PWCF’s mission statement is to provide grants to support and sustain rural communities and improve prospects for profitability for agricultural and rural businesses.
It was founded by Prince Charles in 1979 and provides around £3 million a year to local charities. Sheikh Hamad’s donations are equivalent to almost a year of the charity’s expenses.
Sir Ian Cheshire, Chairman of the PWCF, told the Sunday Times: “We have looked into this event in the past and confirm that the PWCF’s previous trustees have discussed the governance and donor relationship (and confirm that the donor is a legitimate and verified donor). counterparty) and our auditors have signed the donation after a specific request during the audit. There was no failure of governance.”
However, Sir Alistair Graham, former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said: “If the Qatari government wants to give a gift [Charles’s] foundation, then there are appropriate ways of doing these things rather than dealing with large sums of money.
Who is Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani?
The Qatari politician, known by his initials HBJ, was Prime Minister of Qatar from April 2007 to June 2013.
He’s one of the richest people in the world – estimates of his net worth vary widely, despite being in the billions of pounds.
He has been dubbed the man who bought London in British tabloids and his holdings in the capital include The Shard and Harrods.
In 2015, HBJ invoked diplomatic immunity in a British torture case alleging that Qatari agents acting on his behalf erroneously detained British national Fawaz al-Attiya in Doha.
In 2017, both HBJ and Prince Charles were named in the Paradise Papers leak.