Prince of Wales's Charitable Foundation faces questions over Russian payments

The Guardian and the BBC have claimed that the charity received more than £150,000 from a company with alleged links to Russian criminals

The Charity Commission is to contact the Prince of Wales's Charitable Foundation after claims in the media that it received $202,000 (£158,000) from an offshore company with alleged links to criminal activity in Russia.

Documents leaked to The Guardian newspaper and the BBC reveal that the foundation, which supports Charles's charitable work and trades under the name the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund, received donations in 2009, 2010 and 2011 from a British Virgin Islands shell company called Quantus Division.

The documents claim Quantus Division was part of a Russian-operated network of 70 offshore companies that sent £3.5bn to Europe and the US.

It is alleged that some of the funds flowing through the network can be linked to frauds committed during Vladimir Putin’s presidency, which are being investigated by government prosecutors in Lithuania.

Quantus Division's donation to the foundation went towards the rescue of Dumfries House, a stately home in Ayrshire owned by the Dumfries House Trust.

Prince Charles personally intervened in 2007 to prevent the sale of the house.

A commission spokeswoman said it was aware of concerns about funding of the foundation.

"We will be contacting the foundation for further information and to assess the charity’s handling of this matter," she said.

A spokesman for the foundation said it had adhered to regulation and law and nothing had given cause for concern.

"The charity applies robust due-diligence processes in accordance with Charity Commission and Scottish charity regulator guidelines as well as legislation relating to money laundering, the Bribery Act, terrorism and political activity," he said.

"In the case of the examples highlighted, no red flags arose during those processes."

The donations from Quantus Division were made by Ruben Vardanyan, the former boss of the Moscow investment bank Troika Dialog, who has ties to the Russian president Vladimir Putin.

There is no suggestion Vardanyan or Prince Charles, who have had a long-term business and charitable relationship, did anything wrong.

According to The Guardian, Vardanyan said the funds were for charitable donations to "preserve architectural heritage in England".

The spokesman for the prince's charities said the newspaper allegations related to people whose involvement with the charities ceased in 2014 "and, as such, could not have been considered at the time".

He added: "While hindsight is a valuable commodity, it should not be used to misrepresent the circumstances surrounding these donations.

"The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation and the Dumfries House Trust are both independent organisations that have raised millions of pounds for good causes over a number of years.

"Each organisation has its own separate board of trustees who are responsible for all operational and governance duties."

A Clarence House spokesman said: "The Prince of Wales’s charities operate independently of the prince himself in relation to all decisions around fundraising."

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in
Follow us on:

Latest Charity Finance Jobs

RSS Feed

Third Sector Insight

Sponsored webcasts, surveys and expert reports from Third Sector partners


Expert Hub

Insurance advice from Markel

Charity property: could you be entitled to a huge VAT saving?

Charity property: could you be entitled to a huge VAT saving?

Promotion from Third Sector promotion

When a property is being constructed, VAT is charged at the standard rate. But if you're a charity, health body, educational institution, housing association or finance house, the work may well fall into a category that justifies zero-rating - and you could make a massive saving