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Met investigating cash-for-honours claims linked to Prince’s Foundation

Met investigating cash-for-honours claims linked to Prince’s Foundation

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Scotland Yard has launched an investigation into cash-for-honours allegations linked to the Prince of Wales’s charity the Prince’s Foundation.

In a brief statement, the Metropolitan police said it had launched the investigation after media reports alleging offers of help were made to secure honours and citizenship for a Saudi national.

In September last year, the Sunday Times published claims that the billionaire Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz paid tens of thousands of pounds to fixers with links to Prince Charles who had told him they could secure the honour.

Bin Mahfouz was awarded a CBE at a private ceremony at Buckingham Palace in November 2016.

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The Met said it had received a letter in September last year relating to the media reports and after further inquiries launched an investigation into allegations of offences under the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925.

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There had been no arrests or interviews under caution, the force added.

Clarence House reiterated its previous statement, saying: “The Prince of Wales had no knowledge of the alleged offer of honours or British citizenship on the basis of donation to his charities,” while a spokesperson for the Prince’s Foundation said: “It would be inappropriate to comment on an ongoing investigation.”

Bin Mahfouz has been one of the most prolific donors to the prince’s charities and even has a forest named after him, the Mahfouz Wood at the 15th-century Castle of Mey, formerly the Queen Mother’s home and now one of the prince’s Scottish residences.

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The donations of more than £1.5m helped fund renovations of residences used by Charles, and other charitable ventures. The Prince’s Foundation publicly lists Mahfouz as a patron.

When the allegations surfaced, the Prince’s Foundation launched an internal investigation, which in turn led to one of Prince Charles’s closest aides, Michael Fawcett, temporarily stepping down as the foundation chief executive.

The Met said officers had liaised with the Prince’s Foundation about the findings of the independent investigation into fundraising practices.

“The foundation provided a number of relevant documents,” the Met said. “These documents were reviewed alongside existing information. The assessment determined an investigation will commence.”

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