In 2013, the Charitable Foundation of the Prince of Wales Charles, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, accepted donations of $1.2 million from relatives of Osama bin Laden, the founder of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda, over the objections of the organization's employees and advisers to the prince, reports RBC.
According to the Times, the prince received the money from Bakr bin Laden and his brother Shafik, half-brothers of the former al-Qaeda leader. Charles met with Bakr at Clarence House, the Westminster residence of the British royal family, on October 30, 2013, two years after Osama bin Laden was killed by US special forces.
Charles agreed to accept donations over the objections of his advisors and foundation staff. According to the Times, advisers urged the prince to return the money; they warned that the event would cause public outrage if it became known to the media. In addition, Charles's reputation would be damaged “if his name appeared in the same sentence as the terrorist responsible for the murder of 67 Britons and thousands of Americans on September 11, 2001.”
However, the prince, the newspaper writes, refused to return money, believing that it would be too embarrassing. Charles was afraid that donors would understand the true reason for the return of funds.
Fund chairman Sir Ian Cheshire told the publication that the donation from bin Laden's relatives was approved by five of the organization's trustees, including former BT Group chairman Michael Reik, ex-head of the British Barclays bank John Varley and William Nighy, who was then the prince's chief personal secretary.
As the Times notes, there is no suggestion that Bakr or Shafiq bin Laden sponsored or participated in terrorist attacks.
They are the sons of Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, a Yemeni-born billionaire who became the richest non-royal Saudi after founding the construction conglomerate BinLadin Group. He died in a plane crash in 1967, when Osama bin Laden was ten years old.
Bin Laden's relatives disowned him even before the death of the ex-al-Qaeda leader, but they are still associated with the founder of the terrorist organizations, the newspaper notes. Previously, data on donations by members of the bin Laden family to charitable organizations were not disclosed, they do not appear in public documents. Charities are not required to disclose information about their donors.
In late June, the Times reported that in 2011-2015, Prince Charles personally accepted donations for his foundation from Qatari Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani. Their total amount was $3,060,000, the cash was packed in bags and a suitcase. As the newspaper noted, “there is no suggestion that the payments were illegal.” A spokesman for Clarence House confirmed that “all due process was followed.”