The Metropolitan Police have confirmed they interviewed two men in connection to the cash for honours investigation into King Charles’ aides and his charitable foundation.
The force said a man in his 50s and a man in his 40s had both been interviewed under caution in connection with the ongoing investigation.
Earlier this year, the Metropolitan Police and Charity Commission launched inquiries into allegations surrounding links between His Majesty’s Prince’s Foundation and Saudi billionaire Mahfouz Marei Mubarak Bin Mahfouz.
One of King Charles’s aides who worked with the Prince’s Foundation at the same time was accused of promising to help donor Dr Bin Mahfouz get not only British citizenship but a knighthood too.
The Metropolitan Police have confirmed they interviewed two men in connection to the cash for honours investigation into aides of King Charles (pictured) and his charitable foundation
Earlier this year, the Metropolitan Police and Charity Commission launched inquiries into allegations surrounding links between His Majesty’s Prince’s Foundation and Saudi billionaire Mahfouz Marei Mubarak Bin Mahfouz
A spokesman told MailOnline: ‘On Tuesday, 6 September, police interviewed a man aged in his 50s and a man aged in his 40s under caution in relation to offences under the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925.
‘The investigation remains ongoing and we will not be providing a running commentary on its progress.’
The force confirmed there have been no arrests in connection with the investigation.
King Charles has said at the time he had ‘no knowledge’ of any cash-for-honours offers.
The aide was accused of helping to ‘fix’ a CBE for Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz, 52, who was honoured by the prince in a private ceremony at Buckingham Palace after pledging large sums to help restore royal residences in Scotland.
Scotland Yard’s special enquiry team began examining the allegations after they appeared in The Sunday Times last September and former Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker insisted they investigate.
In February, it launched a full investigation into potential offences committed under the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925 – raising the prospect of Charles being interviewed by the police.
King Charles’s son Prince Harry reportedly severed ties with Mahfouz over concern about the tycoon’s motives(pictured together)
His spokespeople previously said he would ‘of course’ be willing to assist any enquiry from the authorities.
Last year Dame Sue Bruce, chair of the Prince’s Foundation, described the recent crises surrounding the now King’s charitable organisation as a ‘difficult chapter’, but said ‘lessons will be learned’ to ensure the charity acts with the ‘utmost integrity and probity’.
The private Mahfouz investiture compared to the normal ceremony
- Held in November 2016, the Mahfouz investiture was set up by representatives of Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz and Prince Charles
- Up to thirty investitures are held in the Ballroom at Buckingham Palace each year, but this was held in the Blue Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace, usually reserved for heads of state
- Often hundreds are in attendance, but present were Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, Mahfouz, his older brothers, his teenage son, an advisor and a photographer
- It is reported that Charles and Camilla broke tradition by shaking hands with Mahfouz at the start of the ceremony
- Honour ceremonies can usually include a line of 60 people waiting to receive their certificates from the Queen or a representative of the Royal Family
- It is claimed that following the awarding of the honour and presentation of a certificate, Mahfouz was allowed the run of the place
- Pictures from the event were not made public, and the awarding of the owner was not ever published in the court circular as is standard practice
Mr Baker had previously written to the Metropolitan Police asking them to launch a criminal investigation into the cash for honours claims. He said he found it ‘difficult to understand’ how Charles could have been completely ignorant of the affair.
Broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby, a friend of the King’s, mounted a defence of the royal after the claims emerged. He said it was ‘extraordinarily unlikely’ that Charles knew about the scandal.
He also compared it to ‘smears’ that Sir Keir Starmer personally failed to prosecute Jimmy Savile.
Mr Dimbleby, whose friendship with Charles goes back decades, insisted the Prince of Wales would have had no idea one of his charities may have been helping a Saudi billionaire get a knighthood and British citizenship.
Speaking to Radio 4’s Today Programme, he said: ‘I think it’s extraordinarily unlikely that he knew. I think if he had know he would have immediately taken action on it.
‘He believes in the honours system. Many thousands of people have been given investitures by him on behalf of a system that he understands and knows well.
‘If there had been some scam, some breaking of the law, you honestly think that he would have been party to that? It beggars belief’.
The journalist then went on to draw parallels with the then Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s false claim that Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer personally failed to prosecute paedophile Jimmy Savile when he was Director of Public Prosecutions.
He said: ‘People were rightly outraged when he was smeared for allegedly not investigating Jimmy Saville, now he was dpp [Director of Public Prosecutions]. He was the chief executive of a large organisation.
‘The Prince of Wales is not in that position. He’s someone outside of that organisation who deeply believes and cares in its work – but is not party to its day-to-day operation’.
He added: ‘It seems bizarre that we should be giving it such attention. The idea that this is an example of an annus horribilus because its linked to his brother’s case, seems frankly bizarre’.
King Charles’s son Prince Harry reportedly severed ties with Mahfouz over concern about the tycoon’s motives.
Harry’s team allegedly became concerned it was entering ‘cash for access’ territory when Mahfouz demanded a private meeting with the prince in Saudi Arabia – potentially ‘within days’ – as a precondition for the donation
Emails passed to The Times revealed Mahfouz had offered Harry’s HIV charity Sentebale a huge £1million donation in 2014.
Harry’s team became concerned it was entering ‘cash for access’ territory when Mahfouz demanded a private meeting with the prince in Saudi Arabia – potentially ‘within days’ – as a precondition for the donation.
On May 31, 2014, Mark Dyer, 54, a Sentebale trustee, responded with concern to Mahfouz’s aide, writing: ‘Are we really saying that if PH [Prince Harry] commits to a trip to Saudi, Sentebale will receive the donation?
‘If that is the case I need to now brief the board as the accounts have all been revised and signed off on the back of receiving £1m donation.
‘I am seeing PH today at Windsor; I will brief him on the situation and see if he now wants to commit to a trip, but this certainly was not our understanding … it is starting to bring into question ‘cash-for-access’.’
Charles and Mahfouz are said to have discussed the then prince’s restoration of Dumfries House, an 18th-century Ayrshire mansion on one of his estates
Mahfouz’s representative responded by insisting the proposed Saudi visit had been suggested and encouraged by Prince Charles at an event in Clarence House weeks earlier.
Harry was prepared to deal with Mahfouz at the time and, according to the Times, is alleged to have joked: ‘Has father beaten me to it and got the money?’
On June 1, 2014, Mr Dyer told Mahfouz’s fixer he had spoken to the prince and had a ‘long chat’ with his private secretary.
He wrote via email: ‘There is a concern and we have to be very careful going forward.
‘At no stage have we committed to a visit, we discussed maybe in the future meeting privately for a weekend on a boat.
‘The POW [Prince of Wales] obviously mentioned it in passing conversation; that does not mean PH comes next week. He is keen for his son to see that part of the world, but not next week.
‘What has now happened is a promise of a £1m donation but it now comes with a commitment to a visit … that was not my understanding.
‘I then discussed with PH and quite rightly he has a major concern that we are loosing [sic] touch with what all this is about … it’s not about M [Mahfouz] meeting PH and introducing him to his friends and [Mahfouz’s adviser] having as many photos as possible of PH on his desk … its [sic] about the children of Lesotho and Sentebale making a difference to their lives.’
Mr Dyer, who is a godfather to Harry’s son, Archie, continued: ‘There is a possibility of a visit to Saudi and if this happens PH will visit M, but to be held over a barrel, I think is wrong.
‘It would be a real shame if this falls through and I think we need to start again and remember the first meeting with PH. What is now on the table is very different.’
While Mahfouz donated at least £50,000 to Sentebale, the million-pound offer fell through, and Harry never made the visit to the Middle East.