The charity regulator in Scotland is investigating one of Prince Charles’s charities, over allegations donations were used to try and influence the heir to the throne.
The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) confirmed this week that it has opened an inquiry into the Prince’s Foundation, a heritage organisation.
The Sunday Times reported that the Prince’s Foundation received a six-figure donation from the Russian businessman Dmitry Leus last year, made via another charity, The Mahfouz Foundation. Leus, who has had one application for British citizenship turned down, was convicted of money laundering in Russia before the conviction was overturned.
His donation was subsequently rejected by the ethics committee at the Prince’s Foundation.
After the £200,000 donation was rejected, a senior figure at the Prince’s Foundation told Leus that the money would instead go to Children and the Arts, another charity at which Prince Charles is a patron, the Sunday Times reported.
However, Children and the Arts subsequently told the newspaper that it had no knowledge of a donation from Leus and was in fact being wound up.
This is the second recent allegation concerning the Prince’s Foundation, after claims that Mahfouz bin Mahfouz, the Saudi Arabian businessman behind the Mahfouz Foundation, had made large donations to the charity in the hope it would influence the decision to grant him an honorary CBE.
A spokesperson for the OSCR said earlier this week: “We have been working with the Prince’s Foundation to better understand the use of the organisation’s funds, and to gain a full understanding of the work which is being undertaken by the charity’s trustees to investigate the range of issues which have been raised.
“We have written to the trustees informing them that we will investigate these matters under the powers set out in section 28 of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 and will follow up any additional queries as they arise.
“It is the responsibility of all charity trustees, the people who manage and control a charity, to act at all times in the interests of the charity and comply with their legal duties in doing so.
“In particular, they must ensure that all funds are spent in achieving the charity’s purposes, and ensure that grants or donations are used in line with any conditions imposed.
“We will consider what, if any, further action is appropriate for us to take when we have been able to fully consider information provided to us by the charity.”
The Prince’s Foundation told the Sunday Times that it had also asked an audit company to investigate the matter independently.