Prince Charles’s charity received a £1 million donation from the family of Osama bin Laden, according to a report published in the Times of London on Sunday.
The newspaper said that the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund received the donation in 2013 from Bakr bin Laden and Shafiq bin Laden, both half-brothers of the deceased Al Qaeda leader who orchestrated terrorist attacks against the United States. Bakr bin Laden was for many years the chairperson and largest shareholder of the Saudi Binladin Group, a construction and heavy industry conglomerate comprised of over 500 companies.
According to the Times, Charles brokered the payment after a private meeting with Bakr bin Laden at Clarence House in London, and the prince’s advisors suggested that he reject the money, in consideration of Al Qaeda’s terrorist attack in 2001 where, among thousands of others, 67 British citizens died.
Charles’s spokespeople at Clarence House deny that claim, but have confirmed that the donation was, indeed, accepted. They also said that the prince himself did not make final decisions, and that it was agreed upon by trustees of the organization and “thorough due diligence was undertaken in accepting this donation.” Details of what, precisely, due diligence means, in this case, are a little unclear.
Bakr bin Laden was arrested in 2017 during a “corruption purge” spearheaded by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and detained for two years. (Much of that time was spent in detention at the Ritz-Carlton Riyadh, a five-star hotel with a turquoise cigar lounge, bowling alley, Chinese restaurant, gender-segregated fitness rooms, and the “Royal Groom of Arabia” spa treatment which commences with a floral foot ritual and includes “a body wrap of your choice.”)
In another bout of questionable optics, the Sunday Times reported in June that Charles had accepted bags of cash containing $3 million from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, the former prime minister of Qatar.
The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund, founded in 1979, awards money to grant applicants in six categories: heritage and conservation, education, health and wellbeing, social inclusion, environment, and countryside.
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