Prince Charles’s charity won’t be investigated for accepting bin Laden family £1m donation

·2-min read
The Prince of Wales - Andrew Milligan/PA wire
The Prince of Wales - Andrew Milligan/PA wire

The Prince of Wales’s charity will not be investigated by the Charity Commission for accepting a £1 million donation from the family of Osama bin Laden.

The charity watchdog has ruled the donation is a “matter for trustees”, with no indication it was unlawful.

It will not take a role in investigating the decision, a spokesman has confirmed, but will continue with two different statutory inquiries into accusations linked to the Prince’s charities.

On Sunday, it was reported that the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund (PWCF) accepted £1 million from the half-brothers of Osama bin Laden, the former al-Qaeda leader.

The charity accepted the payment from Bakr bin Laden, patriarch of the wealthy Saudi family, and his brother Shafiq bin Laden. Trustees are understood to believe that the actions of the terrorist should not tarnish the whole family name.

The Prince is known to have met with Bakr bin Laden, 76, at Clarence House in London on Oct 30 2013, two years after Osama bin Laden was killed by US special forces in Pakistan.

Both the PWCF and Clarence House have emphasised the donation was accepted by trustees. However, the episode has raised questions about the judgment of the Prince after a succession of scandals involving his charities.

‘Matter for trustees’

On Monday, a spokesman for the Charity Commission said: “Whether to accept a donation is ultimately a matter for trustees.

“Based on current information, this historic donation does not appear to be unlawful. There is therefore no role for the commission.”

Should new information come to light, it will be reassessed.

It is the second time the commission has declined to investigate the PWCF over donations in recent weeks, following reports the Prince had also accepted a suitcase of cash during a meeting with Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani, former prime minister of Qatar.

The Prince of Wales meeting Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani in 2013 - John Stillwell/PA wire
The Prince of Wales meeting Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani in 2013 - John Stillwell/PA wire

A spokesman for Clarence House said of the bin Laden donation: “The Prince of Wales’s 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 characterise it otherwise is false.”

Sir Ian Cheshire, chairman of the PWCF, said: “The donation from Sheikh 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 government.”

The trustees have since changed to an entirely new board, with the Prince’s charities slimmed down in recent years.