If somebody offered me a briefcase full of cash, I’d likely shout the words, “Jackpot!” while little cartoon dollar signs replaced my eyeballs. That’s because I’ve never held more than 5 bills in my hand before. But, that also means I’m deeply skeptical of free money, and would likely turn the cash-filled briefcase down, for fear of some kind of fucked up Twilight Zone-ian twist of fate, or that the money was cursed, or that I was becoming the unwilling patsy in some kind of money laundering scheme. I guess being the first in line for the British throne blinds a person from those kind of suspicious cash-based realities. Because according to a report published by The Sunday Times, when Prince Charles was offered a briefcase full of cash from a Qatari politician, he just accepted it like it was a cream-covered scone at tea time.
According to The Times, this all allegedly went down between 2011 and 2015. And, it wasn’t just one time that Charles found himself face to face with the sexy sound of a briefcase lock popping open. According to the Times’ report, the money allegedly came from former Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, who allegedly gave Charles €1 million in cash on three separate occasions (so, €3 million in total, or about $3,180,000). Each time, the money came in a different package, some being fancier than others. via CNN:
The Sunday Times reported on one occasion, Sheikh Hamad gave Prince Charles €1 million reportedly stuffed into carrier bags from the upmarket London department store, Fortnum and Mason. On another occasion, Prince Charles accepted a duffel bag containing €1 million during a private one-on-one meeting at Clarence House in 2015, the Sunday Times reports.
But it’s not what it looks like! No, Charles never shouted “Jackpot” or made a little “ka-ching” noise or rolled around on the cash like Demi Moore in Indecent Proposal. According to Charles’ spokesperson, those were totally legit charity donations.
“Charitable donations received from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim were passed immediately to one of the Prince’s charities who carried out the appropriate governance and have assured us that all the correct processes were followed,” Clarence House told CNN in a statement.
You know, I believe Charles on this one. I mean, who of us hasn’t made a donation to a local animal shelter or a friend doing a Bike for Cancer fundraiser, by dropping off a trash bag full of elastic band-wrapped singles and whispered, “We good here?“. That’s how most charity donations are made, right? They’re not? Uh oh, that might spell trouble for Chuck. Or maybe not. CNN notes that Charles has his lawyers on the situation. Not the random cash donations, no – they’re cool with all those random shopping bags full of Qatari money. The lawyers are investigating the Sunday Times. CNN says that Charles’ legal team is disputing some of the details published by the Times. They also describe the donations as happening a “decade” ago, and that the correct process for such large donations was followed properly, so this isn’t as scandalous as the Times is making it out to be.
The Sunday Times might not be too worried about Charles’ lawyers poking around. According to CNN, never do they imply in their report that what Charles was doing was shady or illegal, and they made sure to note that the money was deposited into bank accounts held by the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund, or the PWCF, a group that bankrolls Charles’ estate in Scotland and his private projects.
This isn’t the first time this year that Charles and his little charity have been involved in some scammy-sounding charity business. Back in February, it was reported that the police were investigating The Prince’s Foundation over some alleged cash-for-citizenship fraud. A letter from 2017 allegedly showed communications between Charles’ closest aid at the time, Michael Fawcett, volunteering Charles’ influence and power to help a Saudi billionaire businessman and Prince’s Foundation donor, Dr. Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz, in obtaining British citizenship and a knighthood. On top of that, it was reported that there was £500,000 in missing donations to The Prince’s Foundation that nobody could account for. And then of course there was the report that Charles loaned Prince Andrew most of the money for Andrew’s rumored $12-16 million settlement to Virginia Giuffre. Essentially, any time you see a sentence containing the words “money” and “Prince Charles,” something shady might be afoot.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are no doubt thrilled they stopped taking Prince Charles’ cash a couple of years ago. They can’t be pulled into this mess, no matter how hard anyone might try. Harry probably won’t even accept a birthday card with a $10 bill in it from his dad. It’s too risky, you don’t know where that money has been! Literally, it could have come from the bottom of a Fortnum & Mason shopping bag.