UK police end inquiry into cash-for-honours involving king’s charity

LONDON (Reuters) -British police said on Monday they would not take any further action following an investigation into media reports that honours had been offered in return for donations to one of King Charles’s charities.

London’s Metropolitan Police’s Special Enquiry Team (SET) began investigating in February last year after the Sunday Times reported a Saudi businessman had received an award after paying thousands of pounds towards projects supported by Charles.

Detectives said the inquiry began after liaising with The Prince’s Foundation, one of Charles’s main charities before he became king, about an independent report into its fundraising practices and assessing documents it had provided.

Two unnamed men were later interviewed under caution and police said it had also requested specific documents from the newspaper.

However, after prosecutors had reviewed evidence to see if any offences had been committed under the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act or the Bribery Act, detectives said they had concluded no further action would be taken.

“Should any new information or evidence come to light that requires further assessment, this will be carried out by the Met’s SET,” the police statement said.

“Nobody has been arrested or charged during the course of this investigation.”

After the Sunday Times published its report, Michael Fawcett, who had been the right-hand man to Charles for decades, stepped down from his role running the charity.

There was no immediate comment from Buckingham Palace on the police ending their investigation, but a spokesperson for Charles has previously said the monarch had no knowledge of the alleged offer of honours on the basis of donations.

The allegations were made before Charles, then Prince of Wales, became king following the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth last September.

Since its initial report in September 2021, the Sunday Times has published other stories relating to donations made to charities connected to Charles.

In June 2022, the paper reported Charles had accepted 3 million euros ($3.3 million) in cash from a former Qatari prime minister, some of it in shopping bags.

His office said the money was passed to one of his charities and all correct processes were followed while a royal source said large cash donations would no longer be accepted.

A month later, the Times said the Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund had accepted money from the family of Osama bin Laden. Charles’s office said the decision to accept the money was taken by the charity after proper due diligence, and he had had no involvement.

(Reporting by Michael Holden, additional reporting by Sachin Ravikumar, Editing by Kylie MacLellan and Nick Macfie)