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Prince Harry upset at being linked to crisis engulfing his father

By Ifeanyi Ibeh, with agency reports
07 December 2021   |   8:55 am
Prince Harry has expressed concern about a Saudi donor at the centre of Prince Charles' charity's cash-for-honours storm. Michael Fawcett, the Prince's Foundation's chief executive, recently resigned over allegations that he offered assistance in obtaining a knighthood and citizenship in exchange for charitable donations. Between 2014 and 2018, an internal investigation found "coordination" between Fawcett…

Handout photo dated on March 21, 2011 issued by the Ministry of Defence shows Prince Harry with his father, the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, standing in front of an Apache Helicopter at Middle Wallop, after Prince Charles was invited by the Army Aviation Centre in his role as Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Air Corps (AAC) in order to fly an Apache and to meet students on the Apache Conversion Course. (Photo by POOL/AFP)

Prince Harry has expressed concern about a Saudi donor at the centre of Prince Charles’ charity’s cash-for-honours storm.

Michael Fawcett, the Prince’s Foundation’s chief executive, recently resigned over allegations that he offered assistance in obtaining a knighthood and citizenship in exchange for charitable donations.

Between 2014 and 2018, an internal investigation found “coordination” between Fawcett and “fixers” over nominations for honours.

After reports in The Sunday Times revealed that Prince Harry’s Sentebale charity received £50,000 in 2013, he was dragged into the scandal.

According to the newspaper, Harry met Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz at a pub, posed for photographs, and discussed holding a charity auction or thank you dinner, which never happened.

In a statement released by his spokesperson, the Duke of Sussex came out fighting, implying that he raised concerns about the donor. There is no evidence that Harry offered Mahfouz assistance in obtaining a knighthood or citizenship.

The statement read: “It is disappointing that The Sunday Times, knowing all the facts, has chosen to encourage speculation by being deliberately vague to try to create a falsified link between the Duke of Sussex and the CBE scandal, of which he had no knowledge or involvement.

“The duke and his advisers, as well as his non-profit Sentebale, severed ties with Mr Mahfouz and his associates in 2015, no longer accepting further donations to Sentebale and discontinuing any plans for a fundraising event amid growing concerns over the motives for his support.

“The duke had one planned meeting with this donor nearly eight years ago, did not introduce him to any members of the royal family, and expressed his concerns about the donor.”

Prince Harry and Prince Charles, seen at the Royal Hospital Chelsea on June 9, 2015, were both involved through their charities with a Saudi billionaire. However, Prince Harry says he cut ties over concerns about the donors motives. (Photo Pool/AFP)

The statement did not specify to whom he expressed his concerns, but the allegations against Fawcett are based on communications that took place after Harry claimed to have severed ties with Mahfouz.

With an external investigation by the Scottish charities regulator still ongoing, if the duke warned his father about the donor in 2015, it would put even more pressure on the future king.

A letter written by Fawcett two years later, in 2017, to an aide to Mahfouz, who had given £1.5 million to The Prince’s Foundation, was previously published by The Mail on Sunday.

It read: “In light of the ongoing and most recent generosity of His Excellency, Sheikh Marei Mubarak Mahfouz bin Mahfouz I am happy to confirm to you, in confidence, that we are willing and happy to support and contribute to the application for Citizenship.

“I can further confirm that we are willing to make [an] application to increase His Excellency’s honor from Honorary CBE to that of KBE in accordance with Her Majesty’s Honors Committee.

“Both of these applications will be made in response to the most recent and anticipated support of the Trust and in connection with his ongoing commitment generally within the United Kingdom. I hope this confirmation is sufficient in allowing us to go forward.”

The allegations were also reported to the Metropolitan Police who have reviewed the internal probe’s findings but have not launched an investigation.

A summary of the charity’s internal findings read: “With respect to the allegation of securing honours for a donor in exchange for donations, there is evidence that communication and co-ordination took place between the CEO at the time and so-called ‘fixers’ regarding honorary nominations for a donor between 2014-18. There is no evidence that trustees at the time were aware of these communications.”

The Office of the Scottish Charities Regulator said in a statement: “OSCR has received a copy of a report prepared for the board of the Princes’ Foundation into a series of allegations made against the charity’s staff and trustees over the past few months.

“We are now carefully considering the contents of this report as part of the evidence we have gathered to support our own consideration of these matters.

“We will continue to progress our inquiry, working with the charity and others as we consider the information available before we decide what action, if any, is required in this case.”