The UK police have launched an investigation into allegations that one of Prince Charles’s charities offered to help a Saudi billionaire secure honors and citizenship in return for donations.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the London Metropolitan Police Service said it decided to open a formal investigation after assessing media reports and looking at documents.
“The decision follows an assessment of a September 2021 letter. This related to media reporting alleging offers of help were made to secure honors and citizenship for a Saudi national,” the statement read.
“The Special Enquiry Team has conducted the assessment process which has included contacting those believed to hold relevant information.”
“Officers liaised with the Prince's Foundation about the findings of an independent investigation into fundraising practices. The foundation provided a number of relevant documents.”
The probe followed a series of stories in the Times of London, which reported that a long-time aide to Prince Charles helped secure the prince's support for a Saudi citizen to receive a knighthood and British citizenship in return for donations of millions of pounds.
Saudi national Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz’s large contributions notably funded the renovation of several royal residences, including Dumfries House, in Scotland. Prince Charles's closest aide, Michael Fawcett, who promised to help secure British citizenship for Mahfouz, stepped down in October.
Mahfouz, a donor to the Prince’s Foundation, had been seeking to obtain citizenship by paying intermediaries tens of thousands of pounds to put him in contact with the prince after being advised that awards would help his application.
Despite Charles's claims that he had no knowledge of the alleged deal, he could still prove to be a vital witness, as he held private meetings with Mahfouz at the British embassy in Saudi Arabia, in London and in Scotland.
Prince Charles already stands accused of bribes from the Saudi royal family, which has one of the worst records of human rights abuses.
The British royals have faced a host of scandals in the past several years. In the most recent, Prince Andrew, Queen Elizabeth II’s son, agreed to settle his lawsuit with Virginia Giuffre, who accused him of sexually assaulting her when she was underage.
According to documents filed on February 15, the case was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of money.
As the lawsuit continued to make headlines, the Buckingham Palace confirmed last month that Andrew’s royal titles would be stripped after previously keeping quiet about the scandal.