News of another royal scandal has capped a bad start to what is a momentous year in the Queen's reign, as Correspondent Sejal Karia reports
The Metropolitan Police is investigating cash-for-honours allegations linked to the Prince of Wales’s charity, The Prince’s Foundation.
The force said officers worked with the charity after it launched an investigation of its own following claims about a letter in which former CEO Michael Fawcett is alleged to have promised assistance with an honour in return for past and future donations.
Police stressed no arrests had been made, and no interviews had been carried out under caution, but that officers had been "contacting those believed to hold relevant information."
What are the cash-for-honours allegations surrounding The Prince's Foundation?
Last year a long serving aide to Charles, Mr Fawcett, quit his senior role with the charity, following claims he offered to help a Saudi billionaire secure an honour and a knighthood in return for donations to the Prince’s Foundation.
Mr Fawcett had stepped down temporarily as the chief executive in September 2021 before resigning permanently two months later.
The Sunday Times had claimed that Saudi businessman Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz donated large sums to restoration projects which were close to Prince Charles’ heart and had been promised support for a honour.
Mr Mahfouz denies any wrongdoing.
Following Wednesday's update, Clarence House reiterated its previous statement, saying: “The Prince of Wales had no knowledge of the alleged offer of honours or British citizenship on the basis of donation to his charities.”
A spokesperson for The Prince’s Foundation said: “It would be inappropriate to comment on an ongoing investigation.”
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What have police said about their investigation?
Scotland Yard said in a statement on Wednesday: "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."
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The statement continued: "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.
"These documents were reviewed alongside existing information. The assessment determined an investigation will commence.
"There have been no arrests or interviews under caution."