Britain’s Prince Charles “personally secured” a donation of £1 million ($1.2 million) to his charity from the family of Osama bin Laden in 2013, The Times reported on Sunday.
The Prince of Wales has only recently been scrutinized for taking “bags of cash” from the Qatari royal family.
Charles “brokered the payment” after a private meeting with Bakr and Shafiq bin Laden at his London residence of Clarence House in October 2013, the paper’s sources claimed. Bakr and Shafiq are half-brothers of Osama Bin Laden, the Al-Qaeda leader and 9/11 mastermind who was shot dead by US special forces in Pakistan two years before the meeting.
According to the Times, Charles agreed to the donation despite objections from his staff and the Prince of Wales Charitable Foundation (PWCF). Charles reportedly opted not to return the money, as to do so would embarrass the brothers.
However, PWCF Chairman Sir Ian Cheshire told the newspaper that all five of the charity’s trustees “wholly” agreed to accept the donation after listening to concerns. Another source told The Guardian that the prince was not urged to return the money, and disputed suggestions that he had personally brokered the deal.
There is no suggestion that Bakr or Shafiq bin Laden have ever financed or been involved in terrorism, The Times pointed out.
The UK Charity Commission dropped an investigation last week into multi-million-pound donations made by the Qatari royal family to the PWCF. British media reported last month that Charles had received shopping bags full of cash totaling over £2.5 million ($3.07 million) during meetings with Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al Thani between 2011 and 2015. Al Thani served as Qatar’s prime minister between 2007 and 2013.
The Prince of Wales is no stranger to controversy, and his relationship with the Bin Laden family has been questioned before. After being introduced to Bakr at the Oxford Centre of Islamic Studies in 2000, Charles drew condemnation from the British press when he dined with Osama’s brother the following October, less than a month after the 9/11 attacks.