London (CNN)London's Metropolitan Police has launched an investigation into an alleged cash-for-honors scandal linked to Prince Charles' charity, the Prince's Foundation.
London police to probe cash-for-honors claims linked to Prince Charles' charity
The force said in a press release that the inquiry is starting following claims that "offers of help were made to secure honours and citizenship for a Saudi national."
A Sunday Times investigation published last year alleged that the then-chief executive of Charles' charity, Michael Fawcett, helped nominate Saudi businessman Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz for an honorary Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) title.
An honorary CBE is one of the highest accolades that can be conferred on a non-Commonwealth citizen. Honors are awarded annually by Queen Elizabeth II to people in the UK who have "made achievements in public life" and "committed themselves to serving and helping the UK," according to the UK government website.
The Met said it was launching an inquiry under the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925.
"The decision follows an assessment of a September 2021 letter. This related to media reporting alleging offers of help were made to secure honours and citizenship for a Saudi national."
The Prince's Foundation is an umbrella organization for a number of Charles' charitable projects, based at the historic Dumfries House estate in Scotland, which is used as a center for education and training as well as championing sustainable living. It is operated separately from Prince Charles' main office at Clarence House.
A spokesperson for Prince Charles referred CNN to a previous statement, maintaining that "the Prince of Wales had no knowledge of the alleged offer of honors or British citizenship on the basis of donation to his charities."
The Prince's Foundation ordered an independent inquiry into the fundraising practices following the allegations last September. It ultimately concluded that Fawcett, who resigned amid the investigation, had coordinated with so-called fixers over honors for a donor, according to the PA Media news agency in December. Fawcett, who previously served as Charles' valet, had been chief executive since 2018, PA reported.
Police officers reached out to the Prince's Foundation regarding its findings and after examining documents provided by the charity alongside existing information, the police's assessment "determined an investigation will commence."
A spokesperson for The Prince's Foundation said in a statement that "it would be inappropriate to comment on an ongoing investigation." A source with knowledge of the situation close to the charity told CNN the charity will continue to offer its full cooperation.
No arrests or interviews under caution have taken place, the press release said.