Prince Charles charity chair quits amid funding probes

File: Britain's Prince Charles. AFP/Ben Birchall

LONDON - The chairman of Prince Charles's charitable foundation resigned after an investigation was launched into its initial acceptance of cash from a Russian banker previously convicted of money laundering.

The Scottish Charity Regulator launched the probe following reports that Charles wrote a letter thanking Dmitry Leus for the money and suggesting they could meet after the pandemic.

Chairman Douglas Connell said he was to blame "if it appears that serious misconduct may have taken place".

"I am both shocked and dismayed by newspaper reports that rogue activity of various kinds may have taken place within and outside the Prince's Foundation," he said in a statement.

"I believe that the correct course of action is for the chair to accept that responsibility and to stand down from the role."

The foundation's ethics committee declined the donation after discovering Leus had been convicted of money laundering in Russia in 2004.

He had the conviction overturned and claims he was the victim of a politically motivated prosecution.

The Mail on Sunday reported that Leus believed he had given £500,000 to the foundation through third-party fixers.

But the foundation says that only £100,000 was forwarded.

That donation was initially accepted before the ethics committee intervened.

A former aide to the prince earlier this month stepped down temporarily as chief executive of the Prince's Foundation while a probe is conducted into claims he offered to help secure an honour and British citizenship for a wealthy donor.

Michael Fawcett is accused of helping coordinate an honour relating to the Saudi businessman Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz.

Mahfouz is listed as a supporter on the Prince's Foundation website and was given a royal honour from Queen Elizabeth II in 2016.

The foundation aims to "provide holistic solutions to challenges facing the world today", according to its website.

Source
AFP

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