The 3 million euros from the Qatari sheikh to Prince Charles stuffed in shopping bags will be probed and the future king could be questioned

The €3million in cash stuffed into bags and handed over to Prince Charles by a Qatari sheikh is to be investigated by the charity watchdog.

Three payments of €1m each – totaling more than £2.5m – were agreed to by the heir to the throne in private meetings between 2011 and 2015.

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Charles could be interviewed as part of an investigation into the £2.5million in cash he accepted from a controversial Qatari sheikhCredit: PA
The donations - apparently inside Fortnum & Mason carry bags, a tote and a suitcase - were deposited in the Prince of Wales' charity fund

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The donations – apparently inside Fortnum & Mason carry bags, a tote and a suitcase – were deposited in the Prince of Wales’ charity fund

Gifts from the controversial Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani were reportedly bundled in a Fortnum & Mason tote, suitcase and carrier bags.

Clarence House insists that all correct processes were followed for donations from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, known as HBJ.

However, as part of its investigation, the Charity Commission can now question fund administrators, including Charles.

It can also freeze accounts if it discovers serious wrongdoing, suspend or remove administrators, or make referrals to the police.

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It comes as another Charles charity, the Prince’s Foundation, is being questioned by police in connection with a money-for-honours scandal.

HBJ, once believed to be worth more than £9.5billion, reportedly handed Charles the first €1million installment in 2011 – stuffed into carrier bags from posh Fortnum & Mason store.

In 2015, the prince accepted a holdall containing an additional €1million during a private one-on-one meeting at Clarence House, with two aides counting the money.

A suitcase containing a further €1m was also personally given to Charles on another occasion – the total donations amounting to over £2.5m.

The heir to the throne has met HBJ on several occasions, including during a tour of the Middle East in 2013 when he was Prime Minister of Qatar.

However, the meetings where the money was donated do not appear on the list of official engagements taken by serving royals.

A spokeswoman for the Charity Commission said: ‘We are aware of reports of donations received by the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund. We will review the information to determine if the commission has a role to play in this case.

A source added that payments will be verified and trustees of the fund may be interviewed before its next steps are decided.

Clarence House insists all correct processes were followed for Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani's donations

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Clarence House insists all correct processes were followed for Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani’s donationsCredit: LNP
The heir to the throne has met HBJ on several occasions, including during a tour of the Middle East in 2013 when he was Prime Minister of Qatar.

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The heir to the throne has met HBJ on several occasions, including during a tour of the Middle East in 2013 when he was Prime Minister of Qatar.Credit: PA

Charities are permitted to accept cash donations, but must exercise due diligence to avoid money laundering and corruption.

Private bank Coutts reportedly collected the money at the request of palace aides and deposited it into the fund’s account.

Clarence House insisted all proper procedures were followed and said some details of a Sunday Times report were disputed.

A spokesperson said: “Charitable donations received from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim were immediately transferred to one of the Prince’s charities who exercised appropriate governance and assured us that all correct processes were followed. “

“REQUIREMENT PROCESS”

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis yesterday said he was confident the donations would have been subject to ‘due process’.

Mr Lewis told the BBC: “What I have seen is that the Palace has been very clear, that all funds are subject to due process, charities obviously follow due process.

“I’m sure I’ve had dealings with charities, The Prince’s Trust, The Prince’s Foundation, around the palace in the past myself, that these will have followed due process.”

Meanwhile, another Charles charity – the Prince’s Foundation – is at the center of a police investigation into an honors money scandal.

Michael Fawcett, former chief executive of the foundation, reportedly offered to help a Saudi businessman obtain knighthood and British citizenship in exchange for donations.

Mr Fawcett, previously one of Charles’s closest aides, resigned last year following a leaked letter to Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz.

He was one of the most prolific donors to the prince’s charities and even has a forest named after him – Mahfouz Wood at Scotland’s 15th-century Castle of Mey, formerly the home of the Queen Mother.

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He received a CBE in a private ceremony at Buckingham Palace in 2016.

At the time, Clarence House insisted Charles had ‘no knowledge’ of the alleged deals.

CAUTIONARY NOTES

THE Sheikh reportedly handed over the money to Prince Charles in cash using rare €500 notes.

They were removed from the show in 2019 on suspicion that the naming was widely used for illegal activities.

In 2010, a British police investigation found that nine out of ten €500 notes were used for crimes, including “laundering large amounts of cash”.

This prompted UK banks to stop offering them to their customers.

At the time, the Serious Organized Crime Agency said the notes had “no credible legitimate use” in the UK.

He added: “There is no doubt that the UK’s main demand for the €500 note comes from serious organized criminals.”

Although they are no longer issued, they can still be spent in Eurozone countries.