LONDON – THE prince Charles, heir to the British throne, tried on Monday, 6, to distance himself from a scandal involving a former royal aide who would have promised a title of nobility to a billionaire Saudi donor. “The prince has no knowledge of the transactions,” said a spokesman for Clarence House, Charles’ official residence, quoted by the press. United Kingdom.
Michael Fawcett, a close official of the prince, was accused on Sunday of pledging help in granting British citizenship and knighthood to Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz, one of the great supporters of the Prince’s Foundation, created by Charles in 1986. The accusations were made by the newspapers The Mail on Sunday and The Sunday Times.
Mahfouz reportedly donated £1.5 million (approximately R$10 million) to restoration projects of private interest to Charles, including Castle Mey in Scotland. The central point is the donation made to the renovation project of Dumfries House, a mansion also in Scotland, where a garden and a fountain are named after the prince. According to Sunday Times, Mahfouz denied any wrongdoing.
In a private ceremony in 2016, Charles awarded Mahfouz the honorary title of Commander of the Order of the British Empire. O Mail on Sunday published an alleged letter, from 2017, in which Fawcett stated that he was willing to change the title to one of knighthood, as well as support Mahfouz’s application for citizenship.
Written on letterhead and signed by Fawcett, then president of the Dumfries House Trust, it said the requests would be made in response to the “most recent and expected support” of Charles’ foundation.
Following the allegations, Fawcett temporarily stepped down as chief executive of the Prince’s Foundation. This Monday, he remained silent when reporters questioned whether he had “guaranteed honors in exchange for money” to Mahfouz.
So far, two complaints against Charles have been filed with metropolitan police, Fox News reported. Graham Smith, chief executive of the political organization Republic, said he had denounced Charles and Fawcett for suspected violations of the 1925 Honors Act.
Former British Parliament Member Norman Baker, a critic of the british royal family, asked Metropolitan Policy Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick to launch a criminal investigation into the case. “If politicians were committed to selling honors or offering support to the citizenry, they would be in trouble. And the same thing must be true for Prince Charles,” he said.
O teams, of London, reported that Charles would be “100%” up to the offer to help the Saudi billionaire, according to a stockbroker, described by the newspaper as a “paid adviser to Mahfouz. Charles reportedly met the Saudi billionaire in Riyadh, Clarence House and Dumfries House in 2014 and 2015.
The Prince’s Foundation has started an investigation of its own. In a statement released on Monday, Clarence House said that Charles supports the investigation. “The Prince of Wales has no knowledge of the offering of honors or British citizenship made on the basis of donation to his charities and fully supports the ongoing investigation.” / REUTERS