Prince Charles faced further questions about his charity donations on Saturday after it emerged that his foundation accepted £1 million from the family of Osama bin Laden.
Charles allegedly secured the money from Bakr bin Laden and his brother Shafiq, both members of one of the richest families in Saudi Arabia, according to a report in Sunday Times. However, Clarence House said the donation was accepted by the Prince of Wales’ charitable trust and not Charles.
Both Bakr and Shafiq are half-brothers of the founder of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, through their late father, Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden.
Their father was a Yemeni-born billionaire who made his money through construction. Before his death in 1967, he had 54 children with at least 11 wives.
The Bin Laden family rejected Osama, the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, decades ago. There is no suggestion that either Bakr or Shafiq bin Laden or any other family members mentioned have sponsored or been involved in acts of terrorism.
Sunday Times reported that Charles brokered the payment after a private meeting with Bakr, 76, at Clarence House on 30 October 2013.
In a statement, Clarence House said it had been assured by the Prince of Wales’s charitable trust that “thorough due diligence was undertaken to accept this donation”.
“The decision to accept was made by charity representatives alone and any attempt to characterize it otherwise is false,” they added.
Sunday Times reported that several of Charles’ advisers had asked the future king to return the donation.
A source told the newspaper: “Why would you do this? What good reason is there to do this? I just didn’t feel any member of the British royal family should be involved in that kind of enterprise.”
Another palace insider said: “There are other sources of money in the world.”
The chairman of the trust, Sir Ian Cheshire, told the newspaper that the donation had been agreed by the five trustees at the time.
He added: “The donation from Sheikh Bakr Bin Laden in 2013 was carefully considered by PWCF trustees at the time. Due diligence was carried out, with information sought from a wide range of sources, including government. The decision to accept the donation was made entirely by the trustees. Any attempt to suggest otherwise is misleading and inaccurate.”
The independent has contacted Sir Ian Cheshire for comment.
Last month it was reported that Charles had accepted €1m (£860,000) cash in a suitcase from a Qatari sheikh.
Charles was reportedly personally handed the briefcase by Qatari politician Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani. It was one of three lots of cash, totaling €3 million, which was donated to Charles’ charitable foundation.
The Charity Commission recently ruled out investigating the donations, saying: “We have considered the information provided by the charity and have decided that there is no further regulatory role for the commission.”