Prince Charles accepting millions in suitcase ‘unusual’, says cabinet minister

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The idea of Prince Charles receiving millions of donations in a suitcase from a former Qatari prime minister is “a bit unusual”, cabinet minister George Eustice.

The Prince of Wales personally received around three lots of cash, totalling €3m, from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, according to the Sunday Times.

“My understanding is this was immediately passed on to the charity, declared and checked in the usual way,” said Mr Eustice. “On one level of course it’s a bit unusual to have such a large amount of cash.”

Asked by LBC what his reaction if he was offered large amount of money in bags, the environment secretary said: “Of course it’s unusual, but if it’s a permitted donation that’s been checked, it’s still a permitted donation.”

Clarence House has maintained that the “correct processes” were followed in handing the money over to the prince’s charities, and there is no suggestion the donations were illegal.

However, the Charity Commission is now looking into the donations from Sheikh Hamad, who was prime minister of Qatar between 2007 and 2013.

A spokesperson for the Charity Commission said: “We are aware of reports about donations received by The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund. We will review the information to determine whether there is any role for the commission in this matter.”

Fellow cabinet minister Brandon Lewis said on Sunday that it was “fine” for the prince to have accepted a suitcase of money from the Qatari politician.

Mr Lewis said he was “confident” from his dealings with the palace that the matter will have been dealt with properly.

Clarence House said the money was “passed immediately to one of the prince’s charities”, who “carried out the appropriate governance and assured us that all the correct processes were followed”.

Last week Boris Johnson said he had a “good old chinwag” with the prince in Rwanda during their first talks since Charles reportedly criticised his asylum deportation policy as “appalling”.

Asked whether they discussed his stalled flights to Rwanda, Mr Johnson said: “I’m not going to go into what happened, the conversation that took place.

“I don’t discuss conversations either with Her Majesty the Queen or with the heir to the throne.”