Prince Charles faced further questions about his charity’s donations on Saturday after it emerged his foundation had accepted £1million from Osama bin Laden’s family.
Charles allegedly got the money from Bakr bin Laden and his brother Shafiq, both members of one of Saudi Arabia’s wealthiest families, according to a report in The Sunday Times. However, Clarence House said the donation was accepted by the Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund and not by Charles.
Bakr and Shafiq are also half-brothers of al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden – through their father Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden.
Their father was a Yememi-born billionaire who made his money from construction. Before his death in 1967, he had had 54 children with at least 11 wives.
The bin Laden family disavowed Osama, the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, decades ago. There is no indication that Bakr or Shafiq bin Laden or any other family members mentioned sponsored or were involved in any acts of terrorism.
The Sunday Times reported that Charles negotiated the payment after a private meeting with Bakr, 76, at Clarence House on October 30, 2013.
In a statement, Clarence House said it had been assured by the Prince of Wales Charity Fund that “extensive due diligence had been undertaken in accepting this donation”.
“The decision to accept was made by the trustees of the charity alone and any attempt to characterize it otherwise is wrong,” they added.
The Sunday Times reported that several of Charles’ advisers had asked the future king to return the gift.
A source told the newspaper: “Why would you do that? What good reason is there to do this? I just didn’t think a member of the British royal family should be involved in this kind of business.
Another palace insider said: “There are other sources of money in the world.”
Prince of Wales Charitable Foundation chairman Sir Ian Cheshire told the newspaper the donation had been approved by all five trustees at the time.
He added: “Sheikh Bakr bin Laden’s donation in 2013 was carefully considered by the directors of the PWCF 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 made entirely by the trustees. Any attempt to suggest otherwise is misleading and inaccurate.
The Independent has contacted Sir Ian Cheshire for comment.
Last month it was reported that Charles had accepted €1million (£860,000) in cash from a suitcase from a Qatari sheikh.
Charles was reportedly personally handed over the suitcase by Qatari politician Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani. It was one of three prize money, totaling €3million, that was donated to Charles’ charitable foundation.
The Charity Commission recently ruled out investigating the donations, saying: “We have assessed the information provided by the charity and have determined that there is no longer a regulatory role for the Commission.”