Prince Charles’ former ‘right-hand man’ Michael Fawcett coordinated with ‘fixers’, probe finds
Prince Charles’ former “right-hand man” coordinated a Saudi billionaire’s nominations to the Prince’s Foundation with “fixers,” a study on money for honors claims has revealed.
Michael Fawcett, who resigned as director of the foundation after a series of allegations, was also involved in transferring money from the donor foundation to another charity of which Charles was a patron, it was revealed.
Dame Sue Bruce, chair of the Prince’s Foundation, described the recent crises surrounding the future King’s charitable organization as a “difficult chapter” but said “lessons will be learned” to ensure the charity acts with the “greatest integrity.” and sincerity’.
Fawcett resigned last month after claiming he promised to help obtain a knighthood and British citizenship for Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz – a Prince’s Foundation donor.
There was also a letter written by Mr Fawcett to Dr Mahfouz in 2017 saying the Prince’s Foundation would be “happy and willing” to use its influence to help him.
Michael Fawcett (pictured with Prince Charles in May 2019), who resigned as chief executive of the foundation after a series of allegations, was also involved in transferring money from the donor foundation to another charity of which Charles was a patron, it was said. revealed.
The aide resigned last month amid claims he promised to help secure a knighthood and British citizenship for Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz (Charles meeting photo) – a Saudi billionaire donor to the Prince’s Foundation
There was also a letter written by Mr Fawcett (above) to Dr Mahfouz in 2017 saying the Prince’s Foundation would be “happy and willing” to use its influence to help him
Clarence House said: ‘It is important to His Royal Highness that the charities bearing his name operate to the highest standards, in accordance with the rules set by charities.
“We are taking this opportunity to strengthen the guidance of these charities, especially with regard to their relationships with supporters.”
Republic, which is campaigning for an elected head of state, said there was a “glaring hole” in the investigation into what Charles knew about the transactions.
Clarence House has previously said the prince had “no knowledge” of the cash for honors scandal.
Graham Smith of Republic said, “How could a charity CEO gain accolades or encounters with Prince Charles without Charles knowing what was going on?
“It’s not credible, but the charity has carefully avoided all questions about Charles, leaving a big gap in their investigation.”
The independent research into fundraising practices was commissioned by the foundation and conducted independently by the audit firm Ernst & Young.
The findings, released today, will be shared with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR), which is investigating the transactions at the foundation.
The inquiry found evidence of Mr Fawcett’s ‘communication and coordination’ with ‘so-called ‘fixers’ regarding honorary nominations for a donor between 2014-18, the summary said, but administrators were unaware at the time. of this correspondence.
A summary of the findings revealed that Mr. Fawcett and another unnamed senior associate were involved in transferring funds from the Mahfouz Foundation, founded by Dr. bin Mahfouz, to the Children and the Arts Foundation (CATA), which is partially defunct.
Prince Charles tours the granary accommodation, with Lord Thurso (pictured left) and Mr Fawcett (right) in 2019
The inquiry found evidence of Mr Fawcett’s ‘communication and coordination’ with ‘so-called ‘fixers’ regarding honorary nominations for a donor between 2014-18′
The activity, including written correspondence, took place without the knowledge or approval of the Prince’s Foundation trustees, according to the investigation.
The Charity Commission has launched an investigation into the Mahfouz Foundation over allegations that donations intended for the Prince’s Foundation went to CATA instead.
The Prince’s Foundation initially received £100,000 from Russian banker Dmitry Leus, through the Mahfouz Foundation, but Charles’s charity’s ethics committee rejected the money and returned it to the Mahfouz Foundation.
Mr Fawcett was subsequently involved in leading a transfer of funds from the Mahfouz Foundation to CATA, the summary said.
Formerly the Prince’s Foundation for Children and the Arts, CATA was founded in 2006 by Charles to give young people with limited access to the arts the opportunity to experience theatre, music and galleries.
Companies House documents filed in September 2019 said trustees would begin the process of winding up the charity.
The Times reported last month that Mr Fawcett has arranged the transfer to CATA in September 2020.
Fawcett was Charles’ most indispensable assistant in decades, with the Prince once saying, “I can do without almost everyone except Michael.”
Clarence House has previously said Prince Charles (pictured leaving Barbados on Tuesday) ‘was unaware’ of the money for honor scandal
The former royal servant had quit twice before, including in 2003 when, as Charles’s personal assistant, he was charged and acquitted by an investigation of selling royal gifts, but was revealed to have accepted valuable gifts from outsiders.
Dame Sue said: ‘The Supervisory Board agreed unequivocally that the recent allegations should be investigated independently so that the facts could be established and all necessary steps taken to address the issues identified.
‘Now that the board has the findings of the investigation, the trustees are looking into it together with OSCR and other relevant parties.
“The Board of Trustees is determined that lessons will be learned to ensure that our charitable organization maintains the highest standards in all areas going forward and always acts with the utmost integrity and candor.
“As we move through this difficult chapter, I hope the remarkable stories will once again focus on the beneficial results delivered by the Prince’s Foundation, and we look forward with optimism to continuing our charitable efforts.”
Other findings from the investigation included that there was no evidence that employees or trustees of the foundation knew about selling or arranging private dinners in exchange for money.
It also said there was no evidence that the foundation paid commissions to civic fixer Michael Wynne-Parker or Burke’s Peerage editor William Bortrick.
The foundation said: “The investigation identified other cases of commissions being discussed or paid.
“It is not uncommon for charities to pay commissions to third parties for the introduction of donors.”
OSCR said it carefully considered the report and continued the investigation “before deciding what action is needed in this case.”
Ex-Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker has previously written to the Metropolitan Police asking for a criminal investigation into the money for honor claims.