Former aide to Prince Charles Michael Fawcett, temporarily resigned as CEO of the prince Enterprise (Prince Foundation, in Portuguese) after the press revealed that he was going to pay tribute to a Saudi businessman in exchange for donations.
According to the Sunday Times, Fawcett would have used his position and influence to help Saudi businessman Mahfouz Merhi Mubarak bin Mahfouz obtain the title of Commander of the Order of the British Empire. The newspaper provided emails containing conversations between the businessman.
The honor was awarded in late 2016. According to the BBC, which cites sources close to the royal family, Prince Charles was unaware of any connection between donations to the foundation and the honour.
The Prince’s Foundation is an educational charity and embraces the range of philanthropic interests of Prince Charles. Fawcett became CEO in 2018, but has previously worked with the royal family.
The CBE is one of the highest honors a non-UK citizen can receive.
Also, according to the Sunday Times, Mahfouz was seeking various honorary positions to advance his claim to British citizenship through the “golden visa” granted to people who had so much money as an “investment”.
A spokesperson for the foundation told CNN that it “takes very seriously the allegations brought to its attention recently and that the matter is currently under investigation.”
Douglas Connell, head of the Prince’s Foundation, told BBC News that Fossett submitted his temporary resignation yesterday while the matter was being investigated.
“The Prince’s Foundation has accepted this offer,” he said. “Michael fully supports the ongoing investigation and has assured that he will help in every way.”
The resignation comes weeks after another scandal engulfed the royal family: The charge of sexual assault of Prince Andrew. The abuse was allegedly committed in 2001 against Virginia Joffrey, who was 17 years old at the time. Andrew denies the charges.
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