The Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund accepted a donation from Osama bin Laden’s family in 2013, it has emerged.
According to The Sunday Times, Prince Charles met with the al Qaeda founder’s half-brother Bakr in London – and allegedly agreed to accept a £1m payment.
The report claims that several of the senior royal’s closest advisers urged Charles to return the money.
Clarence House has denied that Prince Charles was personally involved, telling Sky News: “The Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund has assured us that thorough due diligence was undertaken in accepting this donation.
“The decision to accept was taken by the charity’s trustees alone and any attempt to characterise it otherwise is false.”
Meanwhile, the Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund added: “The donation from Sheik Bakr bin Laden in 2013 was carefully considered by PWCF trustees at the time.
“Due diligence was conducted, with information sought from a wide range of sources, including government. The decision to accept the donation was taken wholly by the trustees. Any attempt to suggest otherwise is misleading and inaccurate.”
Osama bin Laden was behind the September 11 attacks of 2001, which killed nearly 3,000 people in the US.
The Sunday Times claims that Charles’ meeting with Bakr, the patriarch of the wealthy Saudi family, happened two years after Osama bin Laden was killed by US special forces in Pakistan.
The newspaper reported that the donation was accepted despite the objections of advisers – one of whom said having the money “would not be good for anybody”.
The Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund was founded in 1979 and awards grants to UK-registered non-profit organisations for projects in the UK, Commonwealth and other countries.
This is not the first time that PWCF’s activities have come under scrutiny.
Earlier this year, The Sunday Times reported that Prince Charles had accepted a suitcase full of cash as a charitable donation from the former prime minister of Qatar.
Three lots of money totalling €3m were handed to the prince personally between 2011 and 2015 by Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani.
The palace has not denied that on one occasion, he presented the prince with €1m which was reportedly put into carrier bags from Fortnum & Mason, the luxury food store that has a royal charter to provide the Royal Family with groceries.
Clarence House insists all correct processes were followed over the donations – and a senior palace source later said Prince Charles accepting bags of cash for his charity “would not happen again”.
Earlier in July, the Charity Commission said it would be taking no further action over that donation – adding it has “no concerns” about the governance of the prince’s charity and that trustees submitted information via a serious incident report.
There was no suggestion those payments were illegal, but anti-monarchy campaign group Republic said it wrote to the Charity Commission to demand an investigation.