London The future King of England, Prince Charles, returned to the headlines this weekend over another image crisis involving donations to his charitable foundation.
This time, the reason lies in the identity of the donors: The Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund (PWCF) received a £1 million (R$6.2 million) donation from the family of Osama bin Laden, founder of the terrorist organization Al Qaeda, received.
The revelation was made by British newspaper The Times on Sunday. The same newspaper had uncovered other embarrassing operations by the foundation, such as accepting €3 million in cash from an Arab billionaire and a plan to exchange donations for royal commendations.
Prince Charles’ image has been rocked by successive crises
There is no indication that the donations are illegal, although the newspaper points out that they have not been disclosed or appear in any public foundation documents, as UK institutions are not required to identify supporters.
But the third episode in less than a year that will expose Charles’ ties to politicians or businessmen from countries notorious for their human rights abuses and in this case the name of the terrorist responsible for the attacks in which thousands of people were killed this represents a shock in his life.
According to pollster YouGov, the successor to Queen Elizabeth II is only the 7th most admired person among members of the British monarchy, admired by 42% of respondents, while 24% say they dislike him.
The revelations about donations are seen as a failure of Prince Charles’ judgement, leaving the royals to explain themselves and see one of their key members come under scrutiny.
Although the monarchy’s “motto” in responding to negative news is “don’t whine, don’t declare,” situations like this require a public stance.
Prince Charles reportedly met with donors
Brothers Bakr and Shafic bin Laden run one of Saudi Arabia’s wealthiest families. They are paternal halfsiblings to Osama bin Laden, the late Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden.
The family has always publicly condemned the actions of the alQaeda founder, and there has never been any suspicion that he helped him in any way.
But the Bin Laden name is a toxic trademark, and that may have been why the Princes’ Foundation hasn’t announced massive support, as it often does when it receives large donations.
According to The Sunday Times, Charles personally accepted the donation on October 30, 2013, at a meeting with Al Qaeda founder Bakr Bin Laden’s halfbrother at his official residence, Clarence House.
The meeting came two years after Osama was assassinated by US troops in Pakistan.
The Clarence House press office denied to the Times that he was personally involved.
But the newspaper guarantees that Charles not only knew, but was advised by aid workers, not to accept the donation or return the money.
According to the report, one of them said it would cause “national outrage if the news got out to the media,” which took a while but eventually happened.
Another would have told the prince he would suffer serious reputational damage if his name were linked to that of the terrorist responsible alongside thousands of Americans in the September 11 killing of 67 Britons. It was wise advice.
Prince Charles’ advice tried to sidestep the crisis by saying there had been no advice to refuse or return the donation.
And he guaranteed that the decision would have been made solely by the trustees of the foundation, who alone would have approved the operation.
“Due diligence was carried out, soliciting information from a variety of sources, including the government. The decision to accept the donation was made solely by the trustees. Any attempt to suggest otherwise is misleading and inaccurate,” Clarence House said.
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The Prince Charles Foundation is a crisis powerhouse
Established in 1979, the Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund provides financial support to registered UK charities to develop projects at home and abroad.
The Sunday Times has investigated the foundation’s activities and made revelations that have led to new crises for Prince Charles and the monarchy.
The last was last January.
The newspaper published that Prince Charles had personally received a total of €3 million in a suitcase and shopping bags from Fortnum & Mason, a luxury grocery store accredited to supply its products to the royal family.
The donor was Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, one of the richest men in the world.
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Although Clarence House advice stated that all legal steps had been followed and the donation was immediately deposited with banks, the cash volume attracted negative comments as they are typical money laundering operations or those who do not wish to appear.
The crisis was so severe that the Prince Charles Foundation said it would no longer accept donations in kind.
In early July, the Charity Commission, the UK’s governing body for charitable foundations, said it would not be conducting a formal inquiry and that it had “no concerns” about the running of the prince’s charity, based on an analysis of a report. sent by PWCF itself.
Another report in The Times, published alongside the bin Laden fundraiser story, explains the real connections of the Charity Commission, currently headed by Orlando Fraser, and questions its independence.
Frase and the wife are figures from Britain’s elite and have close ties to more conservative sectors supporting the maintenance of the current regime and the name of Charles to succeed Queen Elizabeth.
“Over the decades, [a Charity Commission] It wasn’t really an effective regulator,” Stephen Bubb, director of think tank Charity Futures and former head of the Association of Executives of Voluntary Organizations, told the newspaper.
Bubb believes the commission’s independence has been compromised by the fact that the chair and board members are appointed by the Culture Secretary, while its £30m annual budget comes directly from the country’s Treasury.
Even Prince Charles’ other crisis can cause more headaches.
In September, the newspaper revealed that his closest associate had enlisted the help of a Saudi tycoon to obtain a royal decoration and British citizenship in exchange for donations to charities.
The antimonarchist group Republic denounced Charles and Michael Fawcett, his direct arm for years, at Scotland Yard, the London Metropolitan Police. Fawcett has resigned, but an investigation is ongoing.
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