LONDON — Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, faced new scrutiny over the funding of his charities on Saturday after a report emerged that an organization had accepted a £1million donation (1, $21 million) from the family of Osama bin Laden.
As the Sunday Times of London first reported, the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund received the donation in 2013 from brothers Bakr and Shafiq bin Laden, half-brothers of al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden. and architect of the September 11 attacks. .
News of the payment follows a series of recent royal scandals, including a report in June that Prince Charles accepted $3.1 million in cash donations from a Qatari billionaire between 2011 and 2015, some of which was received personally in suitcase and shopping bags.
The bin Ladens are a powerful Saudi family, whose multinational construction company and close ties to the Saudi royal family have made them extremely wealthy. However, there is no indication that Bakr or Shafiq bin Laden sponsored, supported or participated in any acts of terrorism. And the family disowned Osama bin Laden in 1994 when Saudi Arabia stripped him of his citizenship because of his extremist activities.
On Saturday, Clarence House, the prince’s official office and residence, confirmed the bin Laden brothers donated the money to the royal charity, but disputed reports that Prince Charles brokered the deal or took personally the decision to accept it.
“The Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund has assured us that due diligence has been undertaken in accepting this donation,” read a statement released by Clarence House.
“The decision to accept was made by the trustees of the charity alone and any attempt to characterize it otherwise is false,” the statement added.
But the Sunday Times reported that Prince Charles negotiated the payment after a private meeting with Bakr bin Laden at Clarence House in London on October 30, 2013, two years after Osama bin Laden died in Pakistan.
The newspaper also reported that the heir to the throne had agreed to accept the donation despite vocal objections from his own advisers.
A royal official, not authorized to speak publicly, denied that the prince accepted the donation, brokered the deal or was advised to return the money.
The Sunday Times reported that some of the prince’s aides had warned Charles of the inevitable backlash if he learned that his charity had accepted money from the family of the man who orchestrated the terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, including 67 Britons.
Founded in 1979, the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund says its mission is to “transform lives and build sustainable communities by providing grants to a wide range of good causes under our main funding themes: heritage and conservation , education, health and well-being. , social inclusion, environment and countryside.