The United Kingdom’s Prince Charles accepted bags of cash worth $3.2 million from a senior Qatari politician, according to a newspaper report.
The Sunday Times of London said the prince was given a total of 3 million euros by Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, the former prime minister of Qatar. It said the money was handed over to the British royal at private meetings between 2011 and 2015 — on one occasion in a suitcase, and on another in shopping bags from London’s Fortnum & Mason department store.
The report said that Charles’s aides were uncomfortable with the transfers but did little to intervene.
According to the newspaper, the money was deposited into the accounts of the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund. It did not allege that anything illegal was done.
Charles’ office, Clarence House, said in a statement that the donations “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.”
The prince’s charitable fund told the newspaper it had verified “that the donor was a legitimate and verified counterparty … and our auditors signed off on the donation after a specific enquiry during the audit. There was no failure of governance.”
Qatar’s government communications office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
As Qatar’s prime minister between 2007 and 2013, Hamad oversaw the oil-rich state’s sovereign wealth fund, which has major property investments around the world, including London’s Shard skyscraper, Heathrow Airport and Harrods department store.
The revelation in the Sunday Times added to the speculation of a “cash-for-access culture” surrounding Prince Charles, who has long been accused of using his charities’ bank account for his own personal finances.
London police are currently investigating a separate allegation that people associated with another of the prince’s charities, the Prince’s Foundation, offered to help a Saudi billionaire secure honors and citizenship in return for donations. Clarence House has said Charles had no knowledge of any such offer.