World: Charles accepted £1m from Bin Laden family - report

Palace responds to report Prince Charles accepted $1.7m from family of Osama bin Laden

  Palace responds to report Prince Charles accepted $1.7m from family of Osama bin Laden Prince Charles accepted a £1 million (approximately $1.7 million) donation for his charity from relatives of Osama bin Laden, a UK newspaper has alleged. The Sunday Times claims the Prince of Wales received the money from Bakr bin Laden, the patriarch of the wealthy Saudi family, and his brother Shafiq at Clarence House in 2013, just two years after Osama bin Laden was killed by US special forces. However, Clarence House strongly disputes these claims, asserting the decision for Charles' charity, the Prince of Wales's Charitable Fund (PWCF), to accept the donation was taken solely by trustees and without the future king's input.

The Prince of Wales accepted a payment of £1m from the family of Osama Bin Laden, the Sunday Times reports.

  Charles accepted £1m from Bin Laden family - report © Reuters

Prince Charles accepted the money from two of Osama Bin Laden's half-brothers in 2013, two years after the al-Qaeda leader was killed, it adds..

The Prince of Wales's Charitable Fund (PWCF) received the donation.

Clarence House said it had been assured by PWCF that "thorough due diligence" had been conducted, and the decision to accept the money lay with the trustees.

"Any attempt to characterise it otherwise is false," it told the BBC.

Clarence House also said it disputed a number of points made in the newspaper's article.

The Prince of Wales' Charitable Fund accepted donation from Osama bin Laden's family

  The Prince of Wales' Charitable Fund accepted donation from Osama bin Laden's family The Prince of Wales' Charitable Fund accepted a donation from Osama bin Laden's family in 2013, it has emerged. © PA Prince Charles 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.

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According to the report, Prince Charles accepted the money from Bakr Bin Laden, who heads the wealthy Saudi family, and Bakr's brother Shafiq, following a meeting with Bakr at Clarence House.

The heir to the throne took the money despite objections from advisers at Clarence House and PWCF, the Sunday Times reports, citing multiple sources.

However, Sir Ian Cheshire, chairman of PWCF, told the newspaper that the 2013 donation was agreed "carefully considered" by the five trustees at the time.

"Due diligence was conducted, with information sought from a wide range of sources, including government," Sir Ian added.

A gift from the Bin Laden family embarrasses the foundation of Prince Charles

 A gift from the Bin Laden family embarrasses the foundation of Prince Charles © AP/ALASTAIR Grant a little more. According to the Sunday Times, the Foundation of Prince Charles received a donation of a million pounds (1.2 million euros) from the family of Osama bin Laden, a brain of the September 11, 2001 attacks. According to the Sunday Times, the case dates back to 2013, two years after the death of the brain of the September 11 attacks, killed in a special US forces operation in Pakistan.

"The decision to accept the donation was taken wholly by the trustees. Any attempt to suggest otherwise is misleading and inaccurate."

The PWCF awards grants to UK-registered non-profit organisations to deliver projects in the UK, Commonwealth and overseas.

  Charles accepted £1m from Bin Laden family - report © BBC

No rule has been broken, no law has been broken. All appropriate checks were carried out and even the Foreign Office was called upon to give its opinion - it cleared the donation.

So how is this front page news?

A source at the Prince of Wales's Charitable Fund told the BBC that "the sins of the father" - that's Osama Bin Laden - should not disqualify other members of the family from making a donation. Which makes sense.

But equally, did Prince Charles or his inner circle really think it was a good idea to take money from the Bin Ladens? Or did they think it was fine so long as it was never made public?

Because once it was public - however many checks were made and rules were followed - it was always going to look horrible.

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Just like the enormous cash donation from a former Qatari Prime Minister or the letter from Prince Charles's close friend and aide promising a knighthood to a Saudi citizen who had promised and made substantial donations.

Ministers and members of parliament are, in the end, governed by the ballot box. The Royal Family derives its position and authority from a different place, from a settled acceptance by the public that overall they bring credit to the country.

Does a donation from the Bin Ladens - however remote from the evildoing of a disowned son - fit into this model of monarchy?

Osama Bin Laden was top of the US' "most wanted" list. He is believed to have ordered the terror attacks on New York and Washington on 11 September 2001 - which killed almost 3,000 people - including 67 Britons.

Bin Laden was killed by US forces in 2011. He was disowned by his family in 1994 and there is no suggestion that his half-brothers had links to his activities.

A PWCF source told the BBC that "though the name [Bin Laden] has very unhappy history, the sins of the father should not be visited on the rest of the family, which is an eminent one in the region."

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The source added that the donation had been cleared by the Foreign Office.

Osama Bin Laden was disowned by his family nearly 20 years before the reported donation © CNN via Getty Images Osama Bin Laden was disowned by his family nearly 20 years before the reported donation

This is not the first time that Prince Charles or his charity have been scrutinised over its donations.

It was reported last month that Prince Charles accepted a suitcase containing a million euros in cash from a former Qatari prime minister - one of three cash donations totalling around £2.5m.

Clarence House said at the time that donations from the sheikh were passed immediately to one of the prince's charities and all the correct processes were followed.

The Charity Commission later decided against launching an investigation into the donation.

In February, the Metropolitan Police began an investigation into claims the charity offered honours help to a Saudi citizen.

Clarence House said the prince had "no knowledge of the alleged offer of honours or British citizenship on the basis of donation to his charities".

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  Charles accepted £1m from Bin Laden family - report © BBC

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