Thursday, August 18

Douglas Connell: The director of the Charles of England Foundation resigns after being investigated for a donation of almost 600,000 euros | People


The director of the charitable foundation of Prince Charles of England, Douglas Connell, resigned this Wednesday after the Scottish Charity Regulator, an independent body that regulates the activity of charities in Scotland, opened an investigation into an alleged donation of more of 500,000 pounds sterling (which corresponds to 587,000 euros), according to the English newspaper The Guardian.

The investigation, which began this week, has revealed that the prince wrote a letter to thank the Russian banker Dmitry Leus for a six-figure offer made in 2020, and asked to arrange a meeting with him once the coronavirus pandemic ends. The objective of Leus with this donation would be to obtain British citizenship. The report indicates that the foundation received only a part of the sum, which corresponds to 100,000 pounds (117,400 euros). The total figure was rejected after the foundation’s ethics committee expressed concern about the businessman’s high offer.

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The accusations come just a week after another scandal involving Charles of England and the chief executive of the same organization, Michael Fawcett, who allegedly helped a Saudi millionaire obtain the title of knighthood and British citizen after he made a large donation. . Fawcett, the former valet and right-hand man to Prince Charles, resigned his position with the organization temporarily and an independent investigation was launched.

Fawcett has been at the helm of the foundation since 2018 and is someone very close to the heir to the British throne. So much so that, according to British newspapers, he knows the detailed amount of toothpaste that Prince Charles uses to wash himself, and even helped him get dressed. “I can get by with almost no one except Michael,” the prince is said to have remarked on occasion.

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Michael Fawcett, former personal secretary to Charles of England, walks behind the heir at an event at Ascot in November 2018.
Michael Fawcett, former personal secretary to Charles of England, walks behind the heir at an event at Ascot in November 2018.Max Mumby / Getty

Douglas Connell, who has been in the position of director since March 2021, has assured through a statement that he is “shocked and dismayed” by the reports issued by the newspapers in which they affirm that he may have been related to “dishonest activities” both inside and outside the foundation. “Both I and other members of the board of directors were not aware of such activity, and we have requested that a rigorous independent investigation be carried out,” he stated, emphasizing that, in his opinion, “anyone who presides over an organization should assume responsibility if It seems that he may have committed a serious fault within her ”. Although Connell denied being involved in the scandal, he has ended up resigning.

The foundation’s ethics committee rejected the entire donation after discovering that Leus had been convicted of money laundering in Russia in 2004. Leus, for his part, has said he was the victim of a politically motivated prosecution. For its part, Clarence House, which manages the communications of Charles of England, has ensured after what happened that the prince “fully supports the ongoing investigation at the foundation.”


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