Charity regulator launches investigation after donation to Charles’ foundation

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Scotland’s charity regulator has launched an investigation following claims the Prince of Wales’ charitable foundation accepted a six-figure sum from a wealthy Russian donor.

Charles wrote a letter thanking the businessman for his generous offer of more than £500,000 to the Prince’s Foundation last year, and suggested they could meet after the Covid crisis.

The charity initially received £100,000 but the total sum was reportedly rejected by the ethics committee of the foundation, whose headquarters are in Scotland, following concerns about its provenance, according to The Sunday Times.

Prince of Wales’ 70th birthday
Charles at Dumfries House in Scotland where the Prince’s Foundation has its headquarters (Royal Collection Trust/PA)

The investigation launched by the Scottish Charity Regulator comes shortly after an alleged cash-for-honours scandal which saw Michael Fawcett temporarily step down as the foundation’s chief executive earlier this month.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Charity Regulator said: “We have been working with the Prince’s Foundation to better understand the use of the organisation’s funds, and to gain a full understanding of the work which is being undertaken by the charity’s trustees to investigate the range of issues which have been raised.

“We have written to the trustees informing them that we will investigate these matters under the powers set out in section 28 of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 and will follow up any additional queries as they arise.

“It is the responsibility of all charity trustees, the people who manage and control a charity, to act at all times in the interests of the charity and comply with their legal duties in doing so. In particular, they must ensure that all funds are spent in achieving the charity’s purposes, and ensure that grants or donations are used in line with any conditions imposed.

“We will consider what, if any, further action is appropriate for us to take when we have been able to fully consider information provided to us by the charity.”

Michael Fawcett allegations
Michael Fawcett has temporarily stood down as chief executive of the Prince’s Foundation (Chris Young/PA)

Last week, Clarence House said the prince had “no knowledge” of the alleged cash-for-honours scandal after Charles and Mr Fawcett, one of his most trusted confidants, were reported to the police over the claims.

The pressure group, Republic, contacted Scotland Yard and reported both the future king and Mr Fawcett, Charles’ former royal valet, on suspicion of breaching the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925.

The chief executive is accused of promising to help secure a knighthood and British citizenship for a Saudi billionaire donor.

Charles is president of the foundation but not involved with its governance, with the charity’s trustees overseeing its day-to-day activities.

An investigation has been launched into the allegations relating to Mr Fawcett by an independent team on behalf of the foundation’s trustees

A Clarence House spokesperson said about this investigation: “The Prince of Wales fully supports the investigation now under way at the foundation.”

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