Former aide to Prince Charles steps down over cash-for-honors scandal

Michael Fawcett, former valet to Prince Charles, is pictured in this file photograph on November 23, 2018, in Ascot, England.

London (CNN)Prince Charles' longest-serving and closest aide has stepped down voluntarily as head of The Prince's Foundation amid claims of misconduct first reported by the Sunday Times.

Michael Fawcett, who previously served as the prince's valet, has been accused of using his position and influence to help Saudi businessman Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz obtain an honorary Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (or CBE) title, according to the Sunday Times.
An honorary CBE is one of the highest accolades that can be received by a non-Commonwealth citizen. The Sunday Times reported Mahfouz made large financial donations to refurbishment projects of interest to the Prince of Wales in exchange for support in securing the honorary title, which the Queen conferred in 2016. The newspaper alleges Fawcett -- who left his valet role in 2003 but was reportedly freelancing for the royal -- coordinated the application process.
    The Sunday Times reported Mahfouz -- who denies any wrongdoing -- was seeking numerous honorary roles to bolster his application for British citizenship through the "golden visa" for investment program.