A new report has revealed that Prince Charles accepted a massive charity donation from Osama bin Laden's family in 2013, raising questions about the royal family's fiscal responsibilities. According to a report by The Sunday Times, The Prince of Wales' Charitable Fund (PWCF) accepted $1.2 million from Bakr bin Laden and Shafiq bin Laden, both half-brothers of the late Osama bin Laden. The donation came after Prince Charles apparently met with Bakr earlier that year.
A source close to the royal family told reporters that Prince Charles met with Bakr at his residence in London, Clarence House in October of 2013. It's not clear what the meeting was about, but the insider said that afterward, Prince Charles wanted to accept a hefty donation from the bin Laden family. Advisers reportedly tried to talk the heir out of this decision, but he insisted. The report was met with a strong response from Prince Charles' office at Clarence House, published by PEOPLE on Monday.
"The Prince of Wales' Charitable Fund has assured us that thorough due diligence was undertaken in accepting this donation," it read. "The decision to accept was taken by the charity's Trustees alone and any attempt to characterize it otherwise is false."
The anonymous source disputed this statement, saying that Prince Charles personally brokered the deal and insisted on accepting it in spite of his advisers' concerns. Even after the money had been exchanged, some staffers reportedly proposed returning it, but Prince Charles refused.
The PWCF was founded by Prince Charles in 1979. It collects money for a wide variety of charitable causes and distributes about $3.7 million annually. It has come under fire a lot recently for accepting huge donations by questionable means. In June, The Times reported that Prince Charles had personally accepted about $3 million in cash, hand-delivered to his office in suitcases from the Prime Minister of Qatar, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani.
Osama bin Laden had been disowned by his wealthy family in 1994, and he had disavowed them in the years that followed as well. There is no evidence that his half-brothers had any links to his terrorist activities as the leader of Al-Quaeda. Osama was killed by the U.S. Military in 2011.
A further statement from the PWCF chair Sir Ian Cheshire reads: "The donation from Sheik Bakr Bin Laden in 2013 was carefully considered by PWCF Trustees at the time. Due diligence was conducted, with information sought from a wide range of sources, including government. The decision to accept the donation was taken wholly by the Trustees. Any attempt to suggest otherwise is misleading and inaccurate."