Prince Harry has released a personal statement explaining why he’s no longer associated with one of Prince Charles’ billionaire donors.
Prince Harry has revealed that he has cut ties with his dad’s Saudi billionaire charity donor over fears of the man’s “motives”.
It comes amid a probe into Prince Charles’ foundation after his top aide Michael Fawcett, 58, was accused of offering Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz a knighthood in return for charity donations, reports The Sun.
Now the Sunday Times has reported that the Duke of Sussex allegedly met with the billionaire in a pub in Chelsea, West London after he gave £50,000 ($94,300) to his charity.
The meeting was allegedly held in late 2013 and they reportedly spoke about Sentebale, the charity Prince Harry founded after his gap year in Lesotho and posed for photos.
Harry today responded in a rare statement, saying that he had cut ties with Dr. Mahfouz as he had “expressed his concerns” about him.
A spokesman for Harry said: “The Duke and his advisers, as well as his non-profit Sentebale, severed ties with Dr. Mahfouz and his associates in 2015, no longer accepting further donations to Sentebale and discontinuing any plans for a fundraising event amid growing concerns over the motives for his support.
“The Duke had one planned meeting with this donor nearly eight years ago, did not introduce him to any members of the royal family, and expressed his concerns about the donor.”
Prince Harry also criticized the Sunday Times, with the spokesman adding: “It is disappointing that the Sunday Times, knowing all the facts, has chosen to encourage speculation by being deliberately vague to try to create a falsified link between the Duke of Sussex and the CBE scandal, of which he had no knowledge or involvement.”
Almost a year after the first meeting, in March 2014, after Prince Charles had his own meeting with Dr. Mahfouz, Harry allegedly joked when he met the Saudi at Clarence House: “Has father beaten me to it and got the money?”
The foundation has claimed that beyond the two donations “no other activity took place”.
While Harry reportedly posed for photos with Dr. Mahfouz’s sons, a banquet was agreed in the billionaire’s honor at St James’s Palace to encourage more donations. However, the event was called off.
The outlet reports that in January 2012, Dr. Mahfouz’s adviser told a royal intermediary that he had agreed to give money, but his family wanted to know “precisely what they are getting for that”.
In February 2013, Dr Mahfouz sent £50,000 ($94,300) to Sentebale.
Prince Charles awarded the billionaire with a CBE in 2016 and named a woodland at a Scottish castle in his honor.
Police were alerted when Michael Fawcett, 58, temporarily stepped down as chief executive after a letter showed he was “willing and happy” to help Dr. Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz get a knighthood and citizenship after he donated £1.5 million ($2.82 million).
Last month, Mr. Fawcett resigned from his post as chief executive of The Prince’s Foundation during the investigation.
Sentebale released a statement saying: “Sheikh Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz’s foundation was introduced to a trustee of Sentebale as a prospective high-level donor.
“A meeting with Mahfouz and the Duke was arranged to discuss the work of the charity.
“Beyond the two donations made to Sentebale by Mahfouz, no other activity took place.”
Meanwhile, Prince Charles said he is ready to speak with the police and help with the investigation, according to the Daily Mail.
Charles claims he had no knowledge of his aide’s alleged involvement with Dr. Mahfouz but he could be a vital witness as he has held private meetings with him in London, Scotland, and at the British Embassy in Saudi Arabia.
A Clarence House spokesman said Prince Charles would “of course” assist detectives if asked to do so.
This article originally appeared in The Sun and was reproduced with permission