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Prince Charles’ charity faces fresh investigation after reported donations from Russian banker

A Scottish regulator says it is investigating one of the charities of Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, after a British newspaper reported that a Russian banker had attempted to donate a a six-figure sum for the future king’s fund.

The Sunday Times reports that Prince Charles wrote a letter of thanks to Dmitry Leus and asked to meet him in person after receiving a large grant for The Prince’s Foundation in May 2020.

In the letter, Charles is said to have written that he was “extremely grateful” for Leus’ “great generosity” and that the donation had brought him “great consolation”, the Sunday Times reported. .

The newspaper said Leus had been found guilty of money laundering in Russia but his conviction was later overturned. Leus, who is said to be seeking British citizenship, made the donation after a mechanic promised a private meeting with Prince Charles at a castle in Scotland, the Sunday Times reported.

A spokesman for Leus confirmed his conviction was dropped in 2007 and said that Leus “has a completely clean criminal record.”

The Sunday Times said there was no evidence Prince Charles knew of any deception surrounding the donation.

When the foundation’s ethics committee raised concerns about Leus’ background, his donations were said to have been redirected to Children & the Arts, another charity of which Charles is a patron. support, the Sunday Times reported.

According to the Sunday Times, Children & the Arts denied knowing anything about the money.

CNN was unable to independently verify the Sunday Times report.

A spokesperson for Leus told CNN that Leus had made “two separate donations totaling £500,000” ($877,850) to the Prince’s charity through a repair company, Burke’s Peerage .

“Mr. Leus is now aware that not all of these funds subsequently went to the Prince’s Foundation. No funds were returned to him from Burke’s Peerage,” a spokesperson told CNN, saying. added: “Mr Leus did not know, or consent, his donation would go to the Children’s Arts Foundation [and other organizations]. If advised, he would choose to use the money to help the many vulnerable children and young people the Leus Family Foundation supports across the UK. “

The spokesperson said that Leus’s only additional goal for the donation was “hopefully that eventually there will be a partnership to create a National Fencing Center.”

CNN has reached out to Burke’s Peerage for comment.

Douglas Connell, president of The Prince’s Foundation, said it was taking the allegations “very seriously.”

“Following the publication of the initial allegation involving ‘middlemen’ and donors, the Trustees provoked a full and rigorous investigation with the assistance of Forensic Accountants from one of the four accounting firm”, he said in a statement provided to CNN.

“This investigation is ongoing and it would not be appropriate to make any further comment at this stage,” he said, adding that the full review is expected to take several weeks.

According to a source with knowledge of donations to the charity, the foundation received a donation of £100,000 ($175,570) on behalf of Leus in May 2020. The source said the amount. was returned to the sender following the meeting of the Foundation’s Ethics Committee in September 2020.

In a statement on Sunday, the Scottish Charity Regulatory Authority (OSCR) said it had written to the Prince Foundation trustees to inform them that it would be investigating claims around the payments. Leus’s contribution.

The watchdog said it was “working with the Prince’s Foundation … to better understand the foundation’s use of funds, and fully understand the work being done by its trustees… charities to investigate a variety of issues have been raised.”

The allegations come a week after a former top aide to Charles voluntarily resigned as head of The Prince’s Foundation amid claims of misconduct reported in the Sunday Times last week.

Michael Fawcett, the British heir’s closest and longest-serving aide, is accused of using his position and influence to help a Saudi businessman earn an honorary title in exchange for royalties. donations, the Sunday Times reported last Sunday.

Prince Charles “has no knowledge of an alleged offer of honor or British citizenship on the basis of donations to his charities and fully supports the investigation currently being conducted by The Prince’s Foundation” , a Clarence House spokesman told CNN Monday.

The developments come at the end of a tumultuous week for the royal family. On Friday, lawyers for Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a woman who says she was sexually abused as a child by Prince Andrew, said they had served him legal papers for a civil lawsuit. NS. Andrew had previously denied similar allegations made by Giuffre.

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