Prince Charles has said that he will speak with detectives regarding allegations that his closest friend had arranged an honour for a Saudi billionaire.
Michael Fawcett, for years a trusted ally of Prince Charles, stepped down last month amid claims he promised to help secure a CBE and British citizenship for Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz – a donor to the Prince’s Foundation.
According to some reports, he had paid thousands to “fixers” who were connected to the prince and claimed that they would secure him an honour for his donations.
A probe last week concluded that Mr Fawcett did co-ordinate with ‘fixers’ over honours nominations for Mahfouz, who has donated more than £1.5 million to royal charities.
While the Prince of Wales (73) insists that he did not know of the alleged agreement, it is possible for him to still provide vital testimony as he has held meetings privately with Dr Mahfouz at British embassy Saudi Arabia in London, Scotland, and Saudi Arabia.
According to a spokesperson for Clarence House, Charles is willing to help Scotland Yard detectives when asked.
According to a Clarence House spokesperson, Prince Charles (pictured alongside Michael Fawcett), would “of course” be open to helping Scotland Yard detectives in the investigation of cash for honors.
In 2016 Dr Mahfouz received the CBE at a private ceremony in Clarence House.
A probe into fundraising practices was ordered by the Prince’s Foundation and carried out independently by auditing firm Ernst & Young.
On Thursday’s release, it was revealed that Fawcett worked with ‘fixers to obtain honours nominations from a Saudi billionaire donor.
The truth was out that Charles Fawcett had also been involved in the transfer of money from Charles’ foundation to another charitable organization.
This information will be provided to the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator. OSCR is currently examining the dealings of the foundation.
Chair of Prince’s Foundation, Dame Sue Bruce described recent problems surrounding future King’s charity organisation as “difficult chapters”, but stated that “lessons would be learned” to make sure the charity acts with ‘utmost integrity, probity’.
Fawcett, who was accused of promising to provide a British citizenship and a knighthood for Mahfouz, resigned last month.
Another letter, also discovered by Mr Fawcett and Dr Mahfouz from 2017, was written in which he indicated that the Prince’s Foundation would ‘happy to lend its support’.
Michael Fawcett was for many years Prince Charles’ ally. He resigned amid claims that he had promised to secure Mahfouz Marei Mubarak Bin Mahfouz a CBE (pictured).
A probe last week concluded that Mr Fawcett (pictured) did co-ordinate with ‘fixers’ over honours nominations for Mahfouz, who has donated more than £1.5 million to royal charities
Clarence House declared: “It is important that His Royal Highness that charities which bear his names operate according to rules set by charity regulators.
“We take this chance to strengthen guidance for these charities, especially in relation to their relationships with supporters.”
Republic, which is a campaign for an elected head-of-state, stated that there was a glaring gap’ in the investigation regarding Charles’s knowledge of the deals.
Clarence House previously stated that the prince knew nothing about the honours cash scandal.
Graham Smith, Republic stated: “How can a charity CEO obtain honours or meet with Prince Charles without Charles knowing what was happening?”
“It isn’t credible. But the charity has carefully avoided any questions about Charles. This leaves an obvious hole in their investigation.
Independent investigations revealed that there was evidence of Fawcett’s communication and coordination with so-called ‘fixers’ regarding honorary nominees for donors from 2014-18. However, trustees were unaware of these correspondence.
The findings showed that Mr Fawcett and an unidentified senior employee directed a transfer from the Mahfouz Foundation to the Children and the Arts Foundation. This foundation was founded by Dr bin Mahfouz.
According to investigation, this activity included written correspondence that was carried out without permission or knowledge of trustees from Prince’s Foundation.
A Charity Commission investigation has been launched into Mahfouz Foundation in light of allegations that funds intended for Prince’s Foundation were transferred to CATA.
The summary stated that Mr Fawcett participated in the transfer of funds from Mahfouz Foundation (CATA)
Charles created CATA (formerly the Prince’s Foundation for Children and the Arts) in 2006 as a way to provide theatre, music and galleries for young people without access.
Companies House documents from September 2019 stated that trustees will begin to wind down the charity.
The Times last month reported that Mr Fawcett had arranged the transfer of CATA to September 2020.
Charles was aided by Mr Fawcett throughout his life. The prince said once that he could do without anyone except Michael.
He was a former valet royal and resigned twice more, once in 2003, when he was charged with selling royal gifts. However, an investigation cleared him of this charge.
Dame Sue explained that all trustees had agreed unambiguously that the allegations were to be thoroughly investigated in order for the facts to be established. Then, the appropriate steps would be taken to correct the problems.
The board now has all the information it needs to make a decision.
The board of trustees believes that there will be lessons to learn in order for our charity to continue meeting the highest standards and acting with integrity, probity, and honesty in the future.
“As the chapter closes, I am hopeful that stories will once again focus on the good outcomes of the Prince’s Foundation. And we are optimistic about the future and the possibility of delivering our charitable activities.
Another finding from the investigation was that no evidence had been found that trustees or employees of the foundation knew of private dinners that were being offered or organized in return for money.
Also, it stated that there is no evidence to support the claim that the foundation paid commissions for society fixer Michael Wynne–Parker and Burke’s Peerage editors William Bortrick.
The foundation stated that it had found other instances in which commissions were discussed and paid.
‘It is not uncommon that charities pay commission to third party for the introductions of donors.
OSCR indicated that they were carefully reviewing the report and would continue with their inquiry “before we decide what, if anything, is necessary in this case.”
Norman Baker, an ex-Liberal Democrat MP, has asked the Metropolitan Police to open a criminal investigation into cash for honours claims.
Following a request from the Metropolitan Police regarding a letter concerning Michael Fawcett (the Prince’s Foundation’s chief executive), Dame Cressida said that they had conducted ‘initial investigations’.
When Dame Cressida was asked for an update on Friday’s LBC radio call-in, she said that they had received a correspondence and were making initial inquiries. However, we haven’t launched any investigation. We are open to receiving additional material from anyone who has it.
“But we are not launching an investigation at this point. We have reviewed the letter, done some preliminary inquiries, looked into relevant legislation (some of it is from 1925 but some is new bribery statute).