The United Kingdom’s Prince Charles met with a relative of Osama bin Laden in 2013 and accepted a £1 million donation (approximately $1.21 million) for his charity from the bin Laden family, Britain’s Sunday Times reported.
The report alleged that the heir to the British throne accepted the payment from Bakr and Shafiq bin Laden, half brothers of the notorious founder of the al-Qaeda terrorist group and mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, who was shot and killed by US special forces in 2011.
The report suggested that the donation was agreed on during a private meeting held between the Prince of Wales and Bakr in London on 30 October 2013.
It also claimed that Prince Charles accepted the donation despite vocal objections made by some of his advisers, who had warned him of the potential repercussions of accepting money from people related to the person believed to have orchestrated the September 11 attacks.
The money was deposited in the Prince of Wales Charitable Foundation (PWCF), the report said.
Neither Bakr nor Shafiq bin Laden have been found to sponsor or support any acts of terrorism. The bin Laden family formally disowned Osama as far back as 1994.
Nonetheless, the charity has rejected claims suggesting that Prince Charles himself was involved in the transaction.
“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 the government. The decision to accept the donation was taken wholly by the Trustees. Any attempt to suggest otherwise is misleading and inaccurate,” read a statement issued by PWCF chair Sir Ian Cheshire.
The report also cited a source acquainted with the issue who rejected any kind of misconduct by Prince Charles himself, saying the trustees had accepted the donation after concluding that the actions of one member of the bin Laden family should not taint the entire family.
Clarence House, Prince Charles’ royal residence in London, confirmed that the royal charity had accepted the donation from the bin Laden family but rejected all claims that the British royal had brokered the deal or was in any way involved personally.
“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 characterize it otherwise is false,” read a statement issued by Clarence House.
The report joins existing speculation over a “cash-for-access culture” surrounding Prince Charles.
The Sunday Times reported last month that Prince Charles accepted bags of cash worth $3.2 million from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, the former prime minister of Qatar.
But according to the Guardian, UK authorities said last week they would take no further action over the allegations.