The British press revealed that the Crown Prince of the United Kingdom, Prince Charles, received suitcases containing millions of euros, provided by the former Prime Minister of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani.
According to the “Sunday Times” report, Charles’ three suitcases totalled 3 million euros (US $3.1 million).
With his estimated net worth of more than $1.2 billion (about £1 billion) according to Forbes, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani, the former prime minister of Qatar, is one of the richest men in the country – and has often received attention for his outrageous wealth and is currently making headlines about cash donations to Prince Charles.
According to the Sunday Times, the British Crown Prince, 73, received the money during meetings with Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, 63, between 2011 and 2015, including a private meeting at Charles’ residence (Clarence House) in 2015.
The report noted that the money was placed in a suitcase on one occasion and in a small suitcase on another occasion, while the third batch was in bags from the British Fortnam and Mason store.
According to the report, the first suitcase was handed over to two of Charles’ advisers who were said to have counted the money by hand, while two palace assistants requested Coates’ private bank working for the royal family to deposit the money.
In response to the report, the Prince’s Information Office, in a statement quoted by The Times, claimed that the money received by the Prince during a live meeting in 2015 “was immediately transferred to one of the Prince’s charities, which assured us of all proper procedures”.
All payments were deposited in the accounts of Prince Charles’ charitable fund, according to the Times, which reported that “there is no indication that the funds were illegal”.
The paper notes that each payment was deposited into the accounts of the Prince of Wales Charitable Trust, an entity that provides grants that fund the Prince’s projects and properties in Scotland.
However, it is suspicious is that Prince Charles’ meetings with Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim, in which he received money, were not included in the court bulletin, nor in the list of official engagements by members of the royal family.
In another loophole that the Crown Prince’s office did not respond to, the “Times” indicated that “the royal gifts policy provides for allowing members of the Royal Family to accept a check, as a sponsor of or on behalf of a charitable organization, but it does not mention anything about obtaining money in cash.” The country that Prince Charles received is all in cash.
Doubts were also raised about the culture of “money for titles” at Clarence House, where the Metropolitan Police and Charity Commission investigate fundraising practices, including the “sale of titles”.
Prince Charles’ payments raise numerous questions about the management of the Crown Prince’s Charity, according to the British newspaper.
Bin Jassim is sometimes known as “HBJ” in London’s financial circles, and has been dubbed “the man who bought London”, as well as his influence as head of Qatar’s multi-billion dollar sovereign wealth fund, to expand Qatari financial assets in London through a series of valuable assets.
From 2000 until 2013, Bin Jassim oversaw a series of high-profile investments in British companies that included Harrods, The Shard (95% owned by Qatar), London Olympic Village, and the Intercontinental Park Lane Hotel.
Bin Jassim made a name for himself by taking advantage of being from the ruling family in Qatar, and he held several high-level positions in the Qatari government including Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1992, Deputy Prime Minister of Qatar in 2003, and in 2007, he became Prime Minister, a position, which he retired from in 2013.
In an interview with the Financial Times in 2016, he was described as an unapologetic statesman “known for his willingness to express his mind, and to vacillate unabashedly from one policy to the next”.
It is also mentioned that Bin Jassim admitted that, under his premiership, Qatar “possibly” financed Al-Nusra Front, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda, without his knowledge, according to what he claimed.
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