The Sunday Times, citing unnamed sources, reported that Prince Charles accepted a donation from Bakr bin Laden and Shafik bin Laden to the Prince of Wales Charitable Foundation (PWCF), despite objections from key advisers at the time.
Clarence House disputed that claim on Saturday, saying the decision to accept the money was made by the charity’s trustees, not Prince Charles.
“The Prince of Wales Charitable Trust has assured us that due diligence has been undertaken in accepting this donation,” Clarence House said in a statement. “The decision to accept was made only by the trustees of the charity and any attempt to characterize it otherwise is false.”
Bakr bin Laden is the former chairman of the Jeddah-based construction company Saudi Binladin Group. Osama bin Laden was expelled as a shareholder in the family company in 1993, when Bakr bin Laden was chairman, US court documents show.
Osama bin Laden was the leader of al-Qaeda when the network carried out the 9/11 attacks on New York in 2001. 10 years later, he was killed by US Special Forces in an operation.
Neither Bakr nor Shafiq bin Laden have any known ties to terrorist activities and do not appear on any anti-terrorist sanctions lists issued by the United Nations or by the US, EU and UK governments.
According to the Sunday Times, Prince Charles received the funds after meeting with Bakr bin Laden and accepted the donation despite “initial objections from Clarence House advisers” and PWCF.
PWCF also responded to a Sunday Times report stating that “Sheikh Bakr bin Laden’s donation has been carefully considered by the PWCF trustees. Due diligence was carried out and information was obtained from a wide range of sources, including the government.”
A royal family source told CNN they dispute The Sunday Times’ claims that Prince Charles personally accepted the donation, that he brokered the deal and that Prince Charles’ advisers begged him to return the money at the time.
A source close to the PWCF said that “after careful consideration of the issues, the trustees concluded that the actions of one member of the bin Laden family should not cast a shadow over the entire family.”
In June, The Sunday Times reported that Prince Charles accepted charitable cash donations from former Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jasim bin Jaber Al Thani between 2011 and 2015. Clarence House also disputed the details of the June report. and said there were “correct processes” in terms of accepting the donation.