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UK: Probe into Prince Charles' charity for granting Saudi billionaire royal honour

Charles, Prince of Wales, speaking at the Forest event at the SEC, Glasgow, on 2 November 2021 [Karwai Tang/UK Government/Pool - Anadolu Agency]
Charles, Prince of Wales, speaking at the Forest event at the SEC, Glasgow, on 2 November 2021 [Karwai Tang/UK Government/Pool - Anadolu Agency]

The UK's Prince Charles could face questioning by the Metropolitan Police (Met) over his alleged involvement in the 'cash for honours scheme', throwing the British Royal family into further turmoil.

According to the MailOnline, a letter was sent to the Met naming Prince Charles and former top aide Michael Fawcett regarding a knighthood and British citizenship given to Saudi billionaire Mahfouz Marei Mubarak Bin Mahfouz, who donated generously to the Prince's Foundation – the Prince of Wales' charity.

The Met confirmed in a brief statement that an investigation had been opened, after allegations of offers of help being given to the Saudi national to obtain honours and citizenship.

It has been alleged that tens of thousands of pounds were handed over to 'fixers' linked to the prince, promising they could secure Bin Mahfouz a knighthood.

In 2016, Mahfouz was the recipient of a CBE, and knighted at Clarence House in a private ceremony by Charles with his wife Camilla Duchess of Cornwall in attendance.

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The allegations sent to the Met have triggered an investigation into whether Prince Charles and Fawcett breached the Honours Act 1925, which safeguards against the abuse of the honours system.

According to the Sunday Times, Mahfouz's people began contacting Clarence House as early as 2011 regarding the possibility of a knighthood, saying it would be beneficial to obtaining citizenship to the UK.

Clarence House repeated 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 is the son of one of Saudi's richest men. According to the Guardian, the 51-year-old businessman donates generously to colleges in Oxford and Cambridge, and has been appointed an honorary fellow at Oxford's Pembroke College.

His family made their fortune in the hotel business, property and manufacturing. Bin Mahfouz is an executive officer of family company Marei bin Mahfouz Group.

He is said to be an anglophile with a "strong interest in British culture", the business tycoon set up a charity "to promote and advance the education of the public in the United Kingdom in the culture, history, language, literature and institutions of the Middle East."

The revelation comes as Prince Charles' younger brother, Prince Andrew Duke of York was forced to pay out a sum thought to be £12 million ($16 million) in an out-of-court settlement with Virginia Guiffre, after being accused of having sex with her whilst she was still a minor after being trafficked by infamous paedophile and financier Jeffrey Epstein, an allegation which the Duke of York denies.

Updated on 18 February 2022 at 13.12GMT, an earlier version incorrectly listed the charity as the Prince's Trust not Prince's Foundation

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