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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Prince Charles foundation chair quits amid cash-for-access claims


The chairman of The Prince’s Foundation has resigned amid concerns over possible “rogue activity” linked to the future king’s educational charity.

Douglas Connell stated that he would be held accountable “if it appears that serious misconduct may have occurred.”

According to newspaper reports, the charity accepted a £100,000 donation from a Russian donor who was later promised a meeting with the Prince of Wales.

The Scottish Charity Regulator is looking into the allegations.

The charity’s ethics committee had ultimately rejected former banker Dmitry Leus’s donation, the Mail on Sunday and the Sunday Times reported.

The Prince’s Foundation chief executive Michael Fawcett temporarily stood down earlier this month, following separate allegations he had offered to help secure an honour for another major foreign donor.

“I am both shocked and dismayed by newspaper reports that rogue activity of various kinds may have taken place within and outside The Prince’s Foundation,” said Mr Connell, who oversaw the charity’s governance. “I and the other trustees had no knowledge of any such activity, and we have launched a thorough and independent investigation.” In my opinion, the person in charge of any organisation should accept responsibility if serious misconduct appears to have occurred within it.

“I believe the proper course of action is for the chair to accept that responsibility and step down from the position.”

Chris Martin, development director at the charity, has also taken a leave of absence.


‘Ethical standards’

“The Prince’s Foundation understands and respects Mr Connell’s decision to step down,” a representative for The Prince’s Foundation, which provides education and training programmes around the world, said. We would like to thank him for his efforts thus far and wish him well.” The Prince’s Foundation takes the allegations made in recent news articles very seriously and is committed to the highest ethical standards.

“These board of trustees changes will have no effect on the scope or timing of the rigorous independent investigation that is already underway.”

The foundation’s president, Prince Charles, is not involved in its governance. The trustees of the charity are in charge of its day-to-day operations.

An investigation into the allegations against Mr Fawcett has been launched by an independent team on behalf of the foundation’s trustees.

“The Prince of Wales fully supports the investigation now underway at the foundation,” a Clarence House spokesman said.

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