King Charles ‘promoted £14.5 billion of arms exports’ to repressive Arab regimes

King Charles. Editorial credit: Frederic Legrand - COMEO / Shutterstock.com

An investigation by the Declassified UK website has found that King Charles has held 95 meetings with eight repressive monarchies in the Middle East since 2011, and has played a key role in promoting £14.5-billion worth of UK arms exports to them.

The investigation was conducted last year but is gaining renewed prominence now that Charles has ascended the throne.

Declassified UK said Charles acts as a de facto high-level salesman for British arms exports and promoting military cooperation. And his visits tended to whitewash the Middle Eastern monarchies’ human rights abuses, often coinciding with repression of opposition activists or the media.

According to the investigation, Charles’ diplomacy in the region comes at the request of the Foreign Office.

During 2011, the year of the Arab Spring, Charles met six of the Middle East’s eight monarchs, from Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. He subsequently held numerous meetings with dynasties from Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Many of these visits took place just before or during specific acts of repression by these regimes – especially of opposition activists, the media or religious minorities – acts which have been regularly condemned by human rights groups.

A Clarence House spokesman told Declassified: “All of The Prince of Wales’s overseas visits are undertaken at the request of HMG and are organised by the Royal Visits Committee. The destinations are published in advance and the international media are invited to attend the visits in order to cover the engagements in detail.”

He added: “All decisions relating to travel are made taking into account the time available, costs and the security of the travelling party. The costs are published annually as part of the Sovereign Grant Annual Review.”

Charles III also has important connections to the Gulf states and their ruling families and has often found himself mired in controversy when it comes to accepting cash donations.

This year, it was revealed that between 2011-2015, he was personally given $3m in cash by former Qatari prime minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani, some of it in shopping bags.

Charles’ office said the money was handed over to one of his charities, which carried out appropriate governance and gave assurances that all the correct processes were followed. However, at the time, a senior royal source also added that he would no longer accept large sums of cash for his charities.

And last year, an investigation by the London Metropolitan Police revealed that Charles’ closest aide Michael Fawcett had coordinated work to grant a royal honour and even British citizenship to Saudi billionaire Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz, who donated more than 1.5 million British pounds to renovation projects of particular interest to the-then prince.

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