A SPECIAL team of top cops dubbed the ‘celebrity squad’ as they probe ‘high-profile suspects’ has been assigned Prince Charles’s ‘cash for honours’ case.
The Prince’s Foundation was reported to cops after Charles’s trusted aide Michael Fawcett, 58, was accused of offering a Saudi billionaire a knighthood in return for charity donations.
A Detective Inspector from The Met’s Special Enquiry Team Central Specialist Crime is now heading a team of cops assessing the claims.
The case was handed to the specialist unit which is tasked with investigating sensitive and confidential enquiries involving high-profile subjects.
Dubbed the ‘celebrity squad’ the unit is known for their discretion and painstaking detective skills.
The Specialist Crime Unit has investigated allegations against public figures including bribery, perjury, misconduct in a public office, perverting the course of justice and blackmail.
Police were alerted when Michael Fawcett, 58, temporarily stepped down as chief executive after a letter showed he was “willing and happy” to help Dr Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz get a knighthood and citizenship after he coughed up £1.5million.
A Met Police spokesman said: “On 5 September the Metropolitan Police Service received a letter relating to this matter.
“Officers are carrying out an assessment of the information within the letter and are making initial inquiries. No investigation has been launched.”
Although the investigation will be into The Prince’s Foundation – an independent charity – the move has thrown Charles deeper into the growing scandal.
Prince Charles is president of the foundation but not involved with its governance and the charity’s trustees oversee its day-to-day activities.
But the foundation has been mired in controversy amid a string of allegations over the past month.
Fawcett, Charles’s most trusted aide, stepped down temporarily as he was accused of offering a gong to the Saudi donor.
Charles awarded the billionaire with a CBE and named a woodland at a Scottish castle in his honour.
Former Lib Dem MP and Privy Counsellor Norman Baker and campaign group Republic both named Prince Charles in their complaints to The Met Police.
Douglas Connell stepped down as chairman of The Prince’s Foundation following fresh claims the charity accepted a six-figure sum from a Russian donor.
Executive director Chris Martin has temporarily “stepped down” pending the outcome of the investigation into the claim.
The Scottish charity regulator is also probing the charity.
A spokesperson for the Prince’s Foundation said “The Prince’s Foundation takes very seriously the allegations made in recent news articles and is committed to the highest ethical standards.
“These changes to the board of Trustees will not impact the scope or timing of the rigorous independent investigation already underway.”
Prince Charles’s spokesman did not want to comment.