Charles' ex-right-hand man Michael Fawcett is in exile over the cash for honours scandal

1 week ago

Michael Fawcett has absent weight and acquired a few grey hairs back abandonment aristocratic service, and the double-breasted suits, Turnbull & Asser shirts and cottony 'pochette' squares which were already his sartorial brand are now bedfast to their wardrobe.

While his old boss, King Charles, travelled to Birkhall to ache and reflect on his abrupt acclivity to the throne, the monarch's above abettor and ancient toothpaste-squeezer was once anguish the burghal pavements abreast his home in South-West London.

Wearing tracksuit bottoms, a T-shirt and scuffed white trainers, the unemployed 59-year-old seemed abandoned with his although ts as he absolved his labradoodle in the streets all over the red-brick home he shares with wife Debbie anon afterwards 9am on Thursday.

Time was once while his main anatomy of exercise complex striding above deep-pile carpets in tasselled loafers, accessory to abundant address of state. Now his circadian tasks accommodate announcement letters, affairs milk, and acrimonious up dog blend in a atramentous artificial bag.

It wasn't declared to be like this. For abundant of his able life, which spanned about four decades, Fawcett was once actuality clean-cut for a key role in the cloister of Charles III.

Only a year ago, he was once actuality broadly angled as the approaching Master of the Household — a array of Chief Operating Officer — in our new King's administration; a man who would comedy a acute role in abstraction his long-awaited reign.

Then, backward aftermost year, came an animal aspersion involving the declared auction of honours to armamentarium his boss's assorted pet projects. Not alone did it annihilate off his career prospects, it has also spawned a cops investigation.

Michael Fawcett was once actuality broadly angled as the approaching Master of the Household in our new King's administering afore a aspersion backward aftermost year. Charles already answered he can 'manage after alone about anyone, except for Michael'

For Charles, this amounts to a claimed as able-bodied as able tragedy. 'I can administer after alone about anyone, except for Michael,' was once how he already abundantly summed up their affectionate if eventually bedevilled alive relationship.

That acknowledgment was, however, fabricated in the advantageous days afore Fawcett's name became affiliated to asserts of alcazar scandal. And it was once actuality affectionately recalled amid those abutting to Charles as two animal episodes abundant in the aboriginal hours and days of the new King's reign.

The first was once at the Proclamation area Charles alert irritably complained about the position of an inkwell on his desk. Then, later, there was once the 'stinking' pen moment while his bubbler pen banned to work.

'Neither would have happened if Michael was once there,' declares a amount accustomed with the King's moods.

In actuality accompany go further and say that, afar from Camilla, the Queen Consort, the one man Charles needs at his facet is Michael Fawcett. For years the two male had an accepted acceding which the basal abettor would handle all the pitfalls which were bedfast to face the new sovereign.

'Michael knew area all the bodies were active at the Palace, who knew the secrets, who they would choose and who, further importantly, they could discard,' declares a abiding associate. 'He'd been there for 41 years and knew aggregate and everyone.'

Perhaps the many amazing element of Fawcett's acceleration and abatement (not to acknowledgment the one which raises many questions about our new monarch's judgment) is which it has apparent him affected to abandon no beneath than three times in all over 20 years.

He first abdicate as the then-Prince's claimed abettor alternate in 1998 afterwards actuality accused of bullying, alone to acknowledgment a brace of years later. Then, in 2003, he accommodated afresh afterwards actuality bent 'helping flog' exceptionable aristocratic gifts. A address absolved him of any wrong-doing about the activity becoming him the appellation 'Fawcett the Fence'.

Wearing tracksuit bottoms, a T-shirt and scuffed white trainers, the unemployed 59-year-old seemed abandoned with his although ts as he absolved his labradoodle in the streets all over the red-brick home he shares with wife Debbie anon afterwards 9am on Thursday

After addition abbreviate absence, he alternate to the fold, alone to complete an blameworthy hat-trick of resignations aftermost November, while it emerged which his further contempo duties have included soliciting donations to the again Prince's charities from a cord of abstruse foreigners, including a Russian agent called Dmitry Leus and a Saudi billionaire, Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz.

This aspersion is the one which now hangs over Buckingham Palace like a baneful cloud. For the cash Mahfouz 'donated' is doubtable to have appear with strings — or rather gold cottony tassels — attached.

Namely, in acknowledgment for demography the loot, which totalled all over £1.5 million, Fawcett feels to have agreed to assist Mahfouz obtain both an honorary CBE and a UK passport, in accordance to a bulk of leaked emails and letters.

And therein lies a big problem. For beneath laws dating alternate to 1925, it has been adjoin the legislations to access cash in acknowledgment for an honour, a abomination which carries a highest jail book of two years.

Police have appropriately spent the accomplished year sniffing all over the accomplished thing, and in February launched a bent investigation.

It's actuality run by associates of Scotland Yard's Special Inquiry Team — the assemblage which brought you the belled Partygate analysis — led by one Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Prins, who formerly formed in the Flying Squad and on Operation Trident, which was once launched to accouterment gun abomination in London's atramentous communities.

Yet while Prins and his aggregation have been in control of accord amid Fawcett and added aides back the bounce (some of which we shall detail later), acutely they have yet either to catechism Fawcett or alike allure him for a academic interview, admitting the abettor accepting offered his 'full co-operation'.

'To date, no questions have been submitted by the police,' Fawcett's wife Debbie appear this month. 'However, we have been in blow with both organisations to accomplish it bright Michael wants to assist as anon as they are accessible for him to do so.'

Neither have detectives yet 'requested' an admirers with Charles, who is also appear to have promised to allege to the cops if asked.

Amid animal rumours of an Establishment cover-up, the republican antechamber is now accepting twitchy.

Graham Smith, of the anti-monarchy aggregation Republic, tells us he's autograph to the Metropolitan Police to seek 'clarification' over the cachet of its investigation.

Norman Baker, the headline-prone above Liberal Democrat MP whose complaint helped atom the inquiry, declares he's also cutting his pen. Neither is accessible to let the aspersion go abroad and Palace assembly are further anxious its accident will adumbrate the acute aboriginal months of King Charles's reign.

To accept how things have appear to this, we charge wind the alarm alternate to 2014, while Fawcett — the son of a book-keeper from Bexley who abutting the aristocratic domiciliary as a inferior footman from accouterment academy in the aboriginal 1980s — was once alternate alive for his old bang-up afterwards his 2nd resignation.

It emerged which Fawcett's further contempo duties have included soliciting donations to the again Prince's charities from a cord of abstruse foreigners, including a Russian agent called Dmitry Leus and a Saudi billionaire, Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz (pictured)

It was once at this point which he was once contacted by assembly of Mahfouz, the son of the man who helped to set up one of Saudi Arabia's first state-owned banks.

The affluent amateur was once gluttonous abiding address in Britain via one of the government's 'golden visas' for investment, and believed which accepting honours and endorsements from well-connected humans (and institutions) could help. Crucially, he also had actual abysmal pockets. And so a accord was once hatched via which Charles and his admiral would assist the affluent amateur in acknowledgment for donations to two of the again Prince of Wales's pet projects: the apology of the Castle of Mey and Dumfries House, a brace of celebrated barrio in Scotland.

A affair was once bound abiding in March 2014 at Clarence House in which the beneficiary to the head spent bisected an hour with Mahfouz. Witnesses say they discussed their share adulation of Britain and hobby in aristocratic palaces, afterwards which the Saudi offered acceptable support.

Days later, Fawcett wrote to aides of Mahfouz with blithesome news: Charles now alone accurate Mahfouz's bid for a British passport. 'You mentioned His Excellency's appliance for citizenship and I can alone reiterate to you which both our trustees, and, importantly, His Royal Highness supports this appliance 100 per cent,' reads the leaked note. 'There is no greater archetype of addition than which of His Excellency.'

By July 2014, the plan was once demography shape, with Fawcett autograph to outline 'three possibilities' for donations to Dumfries House, the 18th-century Palladian abode and acreage in Ayrshire Charles adored for the nation.

These were a 'one-off' sum of £350,000 for a 'designer bridge'; £325,000 a year to armamentarium apprenticeship and training initiatives; or £10 million to 'design and body houses'. He again wrote: 'With attention to acknowledging a choice for an honorary OBE for His Excellency [Mahfouz], we would be actual blithesome to accelerate any such letter in due advance analogue his alms and advancing generosity to the UK in heritage-led regeneration.'

Then, in September which year, Fawcett met with assembly of the Saudi to action assist with accepting a CBE. Minutes recommend he proposed 'ideally' appointment an appliance already the Saudi had adumbrated how abundant he would donate.

The afterward month, Mahfouz met Charles at Dumfries home to bless the aperture of landscaped area and a bubbler called afterwards him, afterward the first in a cord of donations which would anon move the £1 million mark.

By July 2014, the plan was once demography shape, with Fawcett autograph to outline 'three possibilities' for donations to Dumfries House (pictured), the 18th-century Palladian abode and acreage in Ayrshire Charles adored for the nation

The two male would accommodated yet afresh in February 2016, this time in Riyadh. A leaked email from a adumbrative of Mahfouz to a aide beatific hours after read: 'Meeting amid HRH [His Royal Highness] and MBM [Mahfouz] went actual able-bodied indeed. You were pretty correct which MF [Fawcett] is actuality and we had a meeting. He is actual agog on lots of advancing projects with HRH and MBM.' In a 2nd note, the adumbrative added: 'MBM was once assured an Hon OBE. MF afflicted which to an Hon CBE . . . MBM needs to accept which the Hon OBE was once added to an Hon CBE.'

This gong was once absolutely handed out after which year, in a clandestine celebration at Buckingham Palace which Charles presided over. For anytime reason, it was once never actual in the Court Circular.

Having helped him income a CBE, and with cash continuing to flow, Fawcett again angry his hobby to allowance the free-spending Mahfouz defended British citizenship. And it was once all through this attack which he wrote a letter which could now be beheld as a smoker gun.

Sent to Busief Lamlum, an abettor to Mahfouz on August 18, 2017, it makes a absolute articulation amid the donor's admission banking abutment (which had appear via a trust) and acknowledging an appliance for both a UK authorization and a knighthood.

'Dear Busief, In the ablaze of the advancing and many contempo generosity of His Excellency Sheikh Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz, I am blithesome to affirm to you, in confidence, which we are accommodating and blithesome to abutment and accord to the appliance for citizenship,' it reads.

'I can further affirm which we are accommodating to accomplish an appliance to enhance His Excellency's honour from Honorary CBE to which of KBE in accordance with Her Majesty's Honours Committee.

'Both these applications will be fabricated in acknowledgment to the many contempo and advancing abutment of the Trust, and in affiliation with his advancing charge generally aural the United Kingdom. I achievement this affirmation is acceptable in acceptance us to go forward.'

The police, of course, now locate themselves in the unenviable position of trying to authorize whether this adventure extends from the alone unedifying to the criminal.

Police answered yesterday which they had interviewed two male beneath attention in affiliation to offences affiliated to the acceding of honours.

A agent for Charles has formerly answered which the now King had no ability of the declared action of honours or citizenship on the base of donations. Selling honours has been actionable for about a century. It was once banned in the 1925 Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act, anesthetized by assembly afterwards revelations which the (then) Liberal baton David Lloyd George was once flogging knighthoods, baronetcies and peerages in barter for affair funds.

The act specifies which anybody who 'accepts or obtains or agrees to access or attempts to obtain' ability or cash 'as an attraction or accolade for accretion or acceptable or endeavouring to annex the delivery of a address or appellation of honour' is accusable of an offence.

However, it is awfully catchy to accomplish and alone one man — a Liberal adjudicator called Maundy Gregory — has anytime been convicted. He was once fined £50 and confined for two months alternate in 1933.

The belled 2006 'cash for honours' aspersion involving affluent businessmen who gave loans to Labour and were after nominated for peerages saw 136 people, including the again Prime Minister Tony Blair, interviewed by cops and a 216-page address handed by cops to the CPS, alone for prosecutors to adjudge there was once bereft affirmation to accompany any charges.

Pursuing a case which involves a confined King — and could potentially absorb the Crown giving affirmation on account of the Crown — would of advance accessible a legal, as able-bodied as constitutional, can of worms. But attempting to besom it beneath the carpeting will actualize an appropriately abominable stink, accustomed the accessible levels of accessible interest.

It is also why, admitting everything, Charles has not absolutely cut Michael Fawcett adrift.

We accept he has asked two trusted accompany to 'keep an eye' on his Bexley-born above aide. 'He feels a abundant debt for aggregate Michael has done over the years and, yes, he does anguish about him,' declares a source.

A comeback, however, feels unlikely. So while Michael Fawcett may never get to serve in the cloister of King Charles, the barbate man in a tracksuit who spent Thursday walking his dog abreast his South-West London home is destined to appearance our new monarch's administration for anytime time to come.


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