British police said on Wednesday they had begun an investigation into allegations contained in media reports that honours were offered to a Saudi national in return for donations to one of Prince Charles’s charities.
The Sunday Times newspaper reported in September that a Saudi businessman had received an honour after paying thousands of pounds towards projects strongly supported by Charles.
The pressure group Republic contacted Scotland Yard last September and reported both the future king and Michael Fawcett, Charles's former royal valet, on suspicion of breaching the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act, 1925, over the claims linked to Charles's charitable body The Prince's Foundation.
Mr Fawcett, who resigned in November as chief executive of The Prince’s Foundation, was accused of promising to help secure a knighthood and British citizenship for the Saudi billionaire donor.
On Wednesday, Scotland Yard said in a statement: “The Metropolitan Police Service has launched an investigation into allegations of offences under the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act, 1925.
“The decision follows an assessment of a September 2021 letter. This related to media reporting alleging offers of help were made to secure honours and citizenship for a Saudi national.”
It added: “The Special Enquiry Team has conducted the assessment process which has included contacting those believed to hold relevant information . . . The assessment determined an investigation will commence.”
A spokesperson for Charles said: “The Prince of Wales had no knowledge of the alleged offer of honours or British citizenship on the basis of donation to his charities.”
Police said officers had liaised with The Prince’s Foundation about the findings of an independent investigation into its fundraising practices and the foundation had provided a number of relevant documents.
There have been no arrests or interviews under caution.
Charles is president of the foundation but not involved with its governance, with the charity’s trustees overseeing its day-to-day activities. – Reuters/PA