Camilla wants Prince Charles’s ‘damaging’ fixer Michael Fawcett ‘pushed out’ over ‘cash for Knighthood’ scandal
Britain’s future king is facing mounting pressure to cut ties with Michael Fawcett after he allegedly offered to ‘support’ a billionaire Saudi donor to the Prince’s Foundation to secure both a knighthood and British citizenship.
Fawcett, who was the Prince’s most trusted aide for decades, stepped down as chief executive of the charity last month following the allegations of his offer to help Saudi tycoon Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz.
Now, royal sources say Camilla is joining calls for Charles to cut ties with Fawcett as she believes his actions are ‘damaging’ the Prince.
‘She will be merciless in her pursuit of Michael out of the door,’ a source told The Times.
An insider added: ‘She has said it is time to draw the line. This is the end of the road for Michael.’
The Duchess of Cornwall wants Prince Charles’s ‘damaging’ fixer and closest ally Michael Fawcett (left) to be ‘pushed out’ following the ‘cash for Knighthood’ scandal involving the royal’s charity. Pictured: Michael Fawcett (left) with Prince Charles and Camilla at Ascot Racecourse in 2018
Britain’s future king is facing mounting pressure to cut ties with Michael Fawcett (pictured) after he allegedly offered to ‘support’ a billionaire Saudi donor to the Prince’s Foundation to secure both a knighthood and British citizenship
The sources said Camilla is determined to see Charles sever ties with Fawcett due to concern about the impact on the royal’s reputation.
One said: ‘The duchess is not keen on having anyone else in the prince’s ear. She is, as far as she is concerned, the only person who should be able to convince the prince of anything.
‘She has definitely become more and more opinionated about how she disliked [Fawcett] over time. She has made it plain she didn’t want him around.’
Earlier this month, Fawcett was accused of keeping the ethics committee at the Prince’s Foundation ‘in the dark’ about multi-million-pound fundraising activities.
Fawcett stepped down temporarily from his role as chief executive after it was revealed he had offered to help bin Mahfouz, who has donated £1.5million to the foundation, gain a knighthood and British citizenship.
Fawcett is also said to have accepted a six-figure sum from Dmitry Leus, a Russian banker previously convicted of money laundering.
The charity has ordered an independent inquiry and auditors are quizzing past and present trustees and a report will be released within days.
Michael Fawcett, The Prince of Wales’s closest aide, (pictured together in 2019) resigned it was exposed how he offered to help secure a knighthood and British citizenship for a billionaire Saudi donor
Prince’s Foundation beefs up investigation into ‘cash for honours’ claims
When allegations surfaced about how wealthy donors could pay £100,000 to secure a dinner with Prince Charles and a stay at Dumfries House, an internal investigation was launched.
The Prince’s Foundation beefed up the probe after more serious ‘cash for honours’ claims, this time about Michael Fawcett, surfaced.
The charity has arranged for a senior forensic accountant from a ‘big four’ firm for carry out and independent review.
But critics believe the inquiry should be handled by an fully independent commission or a police force.
It is understood that the Scottish Charity Regulator has been informed, because the allegations relate to north of the border. But it is unclear if any action is being taken by the body.
Former Minister Norman Baker said he would be writing to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick today and asking her to investigate a potential breach of the 1925 Honours Act.
Only once person has never been convicted under this act – and this was back in 1933.
An insider told the Mail on Sunday that they are expected to point the finger at Mr Fawcett, 59, and Chris Martin, the foundation’s executive director of development, who has also stood down pending the outcome of the investigation.
‘Some of the financial controls were circumvented by the fundraisers in order to get the cash,’ the source said. ‘They were operating behind the backs of the board. It was very much outside their knowledge.
‘We were asking, ‘How could we have got ourselves into this mess?’ It can only be that some people at the foundation have been blinded by the glamour of royalty and it has clouded their judgment somewhat.
‘The official running of the Prince’s Foundation was good, it was what was going on unofficially that was the problem. I’m sure the Prince of Wales didn’t even know what was going on.
‘Even the letters he signed would have been written by Michael.’
It follows reports that a letter on headed notepaper made clear that Mr Fawcett was prepared to assist in bumping up the tycoon’s honorary CBE to a knighthood.
The prince is understood to have ‘known nothing’ of either Mr Fawcett’s letter or of emails from fixers about the prospect of an honour.
The Mail understands that he was ‘so surprised’ by the claims that he ‘couldn’t believe them’ at first.
Mr Fawcett – at his own suggestion – agreed to ‘temporarily’ step down from his £95,000-a-year role with the Foundation while an investigation is carried out.
Prince Charles is said to be ‘supportive’ of this. Meanwhile, the Prince’s Foundation is also facing the threat of a possible police inquiry.
Camilla has not been on speaking terms with Fawcett for the past two years, it is reported.
She felt ‘batted away’ by Fawcett when she alerted him to concerns about a 2019 arrangement to secure a number of paintings on loan for Dumfries House – some of the paintings were later found to be fakes, reported The Times.
It has also emerged that the Prince’s Foundation accepted money from a Chinese government agency representative Hu Zhirong, 47.
Zhirong is listed as the ‘national director’ of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, which aims to seek to promote China’s agenda, but is also a member of the Prince’s Foundation’s ‘patrons’ circle’.
The foundation declined to comment on whether they thought it was appropriate to accept money from Zhirong, reported the Times.
Clarence House told the newspper: ‘Michael Fawcett has stepped back from his role as chief executive of the Prince’s Foundation while an independent investigation is under way. We will not be commenting while this is ongoing.’
Last month, it was reported that Charles met the ‘fixer’ at the heart of the scandal at least nine times.
William Bortrick, 42, who is reportedly a paid advisor to Saudi tycoon bin Mahfouz, is said to have met the Prince both in Britain and abroad.
Mr Bortrick, the publisher of Burke’s Peerage, a British genealogical and peerage database, reportedly received thousands of pounds to help secure an honour for Dr bin Mahfouz – a major donor to Charles’s charities.
He previously claimed, in a draft letter reported on earlier this month by the Sunday Times, that the Prince was ‘100 per cent’ behind an offer to help secure Dr bin Mahfouz UK citizenship.
This was previously denied by Clarence House, who said the future king, 72, had ‘no knowledge’ of the cash for honours allegations on the basis of donation to his charities.
The trip for two, comprising a tour, dinner, entertainment and an overnight stay at Dumfries House in Ayrshire, would cost £100,000 – with Mr Wynne-Parker taking a 5% commission and the fixer 20%. Pictured: The email he sent – complete with spelling mistakes
The Sunday Times later reported that Mr Bortrick met with the Prince in England, Scotland and Saudi Arabia over the past seven years.
He also sent Mr Bortrick a personal Christmas card last year, the paper reports.
However MailOnline understood that the meetings between the Prince and Mr Bortrick were all in an official capacity and never one-to-one.
According to the Sunday Times, Mr Bortrick and Prince Charles are known to have met in October 2014 at the opening of a garden at Dumfries House.
The Prince of Wales met the fixer at the heart the ‘cash for honours’ scandal at least nine times and even sent him a personal Christmas card, it has today been reported. William Bortrick, 42, a paid advisor to Saudi tycoon Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz – is said to have met the Prince both in Britain and abroad.
The garden is funded by Dr bin Mahfouz, who at the time was seeking UK citizenship, and who has donated more than £1.5million to the prince’s charities.
In the same year, in a draft letter to Dr Mahfouz, Mr Bortrick said that Dr Mahfouz’s application for citizenship would ‘now take the highest priority’, adding: ‘His Royal Highness supports these applications one hundred percent, as there is no greater example of contribution [than] yours, therefore this should be rewarded and recognised accordingly.’
It is these claims that Clarence House say Prince Charles had ‘no knowledge of’.
The pair are then said to have met at the British embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Dr bin Mahfouz and the Prince’s former valet, Michael Fawcett, who resigned as chief of the Prince’s Foundation amid the cash for honours scandal, were also present.
He is also said to have met Mr Bortrick at Buckingham Palace in 2016 during the presentation of Dr Bin Mafouz’s CBE.
The ceremony was not published in the Court Circular – an official record that lists the engagements carried out by members of the Royal Family.
Prince Charles is not responsible for choosing honours – which are selected by an honours committee who then pass their recommendations to the Cabinet Office.
According to the Sunday Times, the last meeting was in July 2020, when Prince Charles went on a walk with Mr Bortrick in the Gardens of the Castle of Mey in Scotland.
The walk, which was also attended by the gardener and a trustee of the Prince’s Foundation, came weeks after Mr Bortrick had brokered a six-figure donation to the Prince’s Foundation.
The donation was made in return for a meeting between the Prince and Dmitry Leus, a Russian banker, who was invited to two private events at Charles’s royal residences in Scotland.
Shortly after the meeting Mr Botrick wrote to Mr Leus saying: ‘I have just had an excellent private visit with HRH the Prince of Wales — who appreciates your generosity and asked me to send his personal good wishes to you.’
However the meetings were cancelled because of Covid and concerns about Mr Lues’ past.
Society fixer, Burke’s Peerage publisher and Saudi tycoon: Three key characters in the Charles scandal
Dr Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz
Dr Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz, pictured meeting Prince Charles, is one of Britain’s most generous benefactors
Dr Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz is one of Britain’s most generous benefactors who holds a string of titles in the UK. The millionaire Saudi businessman’s family made their fortune in the Middle East through hotels, property and manufacturing.
In 2012 Dr Mahfouz, 51, set up the Mahfouz Foundation, a charity that aims to ‘advance the education of the public in the United Kingdom in the culture, history, language, literature and institutions of the Middle East’.
Three years later Dr Mahfouz donated £370,000 to the Queen Elizabeth Castle of Mey Trust, which Prince Charles is president of, to help renovate the estate despite the Saudi never having visited it.
He was honoured with the Mahfouz Wood, to the east of the 15th Century castle, and six benches were installed with plaques bearing the names of Dr Mahfouz, his father and four brothers will be placed around the castle’s gardens.
He has also donated a significant sum to Dumfries House, the 18th Century Palladian mansion in Ayrshire, which the Prince’s Foundation had painstakingly being working to restore.
Dr Mahfouz holds the title of Lord and Baron of Abernethy as well as his honorary CBE awarded in a private ceremony at Buckingham Palace in 2016.
He has been made a life Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts as well as being awarded Knight Grand Cross in the Companionate of Merit of the Military and Hospitaller Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem.
He has been elected a fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford and has a bust in his honour at Wolfson College, Cambridge.
Michael Wynne-Parker has rubbed shoulders with Prime Ministers and world leaders during a colourful life
Michael Wynne-Parker is known as a society fixer who has rubbed shoulders with Prime Ministers and world leaders during a colourful life.
Mr Wynne-Parker, 75, stood unsuccessfully as a Tory candidate in Norfolk in August 1974 before becoming a regular at the Monday Club, the Right-wing Westminster pressure group.
He quickly proved himself a masterful networker introduced Margaret Thatcher to Muammar Gadaffi’s son and meeting brewery tycoon Jonathan Guinness – now Lord Moyne.
Mr Wynne-Parker worked with Lord Moyne on his controversial consultancy firm Introcom which was investigated by the fraud squad after complaints from creditors over their failed airline, Tajik Air, in 1994.
Mr Wynne-Parker said at the time that Introcom had no financial involvement, but had only provided consultancy services.
Mr Wynne-Parker and Lord Moyne then launched Access To Justice which rented out office suites and gave free legal advice to those seeking to overturn their convictions because of alleged miscarriages of justice.
It was claimed that the firm misrepresented itself as a charity and that a convicted fraudster was involved in its operations. Margaret Beckett, then the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, obtained a court order to shut down the company in the public interest.
Both Mr Wynne-Parker and Lord Moyne were banned from being company directors for five years in 2000 because of their roles in Access To Justice.
Another of his firms, Wynne-Parker Financial Management, had also been shut down by financial watchdogs ten years earlier. He was found guilty on 16 counts of misconduct and fined £10,000 with a judge saying that it seemed the businessman had ‘the clear modus operandi of a crook’.
William Bortrick is chairman of aristocratic guide Burke’s Peerage
William Bortrick is a family figure in London’s private clubs and is usually seen hovering in background at functions attended by society fixer Michael Wynne-Parker.
He is chairman of the once-revered aristocratic guide, Burke’s Peerage, and is also a member of the founding board of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society, which is chaired by Mr Wynne-Parker.
The organisation has faced disputed allegations that it is a front for Russian influence – but its bosses insist it is a religious and cultural organisation.
Mr Bortrick, 48, is also an adviser to the Commonwealth Sambo Association, which champions a Russian martial art and combat sport which may feature in the 2028 Olympics and is strongly backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The fighting techniques were developed by the Soviet Red Army in the early 1920s to improve unarmed combat. Mr Wynne-Parker is president of the association and regularly presides over combat events.
Burke’s Peerage was established by the genealogist John Burke in 1826, expanding over the years into various editions. The firm was chaired from 1974 to 1983 by the entrepreneur Jeremy Norman, who founded the gay nightclub Heaven and established the fitness chain Soho Gyms.