Whether at the top of the hierarchy or lower down corruption is becoming normalised in UK society.

From the exposures in the Royal Family and the government on what seems like a daily basis to members of the public the obsession with filthy lucre has changed the way people think about living their daily lives.

The ‘Future King’

Prince Charles accepted a suitcase full of cash as a charitable donation from the former prime minister of Qatar, it has been claimed.

The Sunday Times says it was one of three bundles of cash given as charitable donations which the Prince of Wales received from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani.

The three lots, which totalled €3m, were handed to the prince personally between 2011 and 2015, the paper adds.
It claims that on one occasion, Sheikh Hamad, 62, presented the prince with €1m reportedly stuffed into carrier bags from Fortnum & Mason, the luxury food store that has a royal charter to provide the Royal Family with groceries.

The cash payments were deposited into the accounts of the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund (PWCF), an entity that bankrolls the prince’s private projects and his country estate in Scotland, it added.
There is no suggestion anything about the payments was illegal.

Clarence House has released a statement following the report.

It said: “Charitable donations received from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim were passed immediately to one of the prince’s charities who carried out the appropriate governance and have assured us that all the correct processes were followed.”

Sir Ian Cheshire, its chairman, told the Sunday Times after it was approached for comment on Friday evening: “At a few hours’ notice from

The Sunday Times, we have checked into this event in the past, and confirm that the previous trustees of PWCF discussed the governance and donor relationship, (confirming that the donor was a legitimate and verified counterparty) and our auditors signed off on the donation after a specific enquiry during the audit. There was no failure of governance”.

The Sunday Times said he confirmed the latest donation was given in cash. He said: “The donation was made in cash and that was the donor’s choice.”

Asked which donation he was referring to, Mr Cheshire told the Sunday Times: “The assurance of [the] 2015 donation has been verified from records. I believe the same assurance applied to earlier donations and look forward to confirming that in due course.”
The Sunday Times said Sheikh Hamad’s lawyers declined to comment.

It is the latest claim to beset the future king, who has repeatedly run into controversy in the past and who is currently in Rwanda representing the Queen at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

Investigation linked to The Prince’s Foundation

On Friday, the Prince of Wales expressed his “personal sorrow” in the Rwandan capital Kigali about “slavery’s enduring impact” and addressed the contentious issue of other Commonwealth countries cutting ties with the Royal Family.
In February, police said they were investigating a bid to give honours and citizenship to a Saudi national linked to the Prince of Wales’s charity The Prince’s Foundation.

In September 2021, Clarence House said that Charles had “no knowledge of the alleged offer of honours or British citizenship on the basis of donation to his charities”.

It said that he was fully supportive of an investigation by The Prince’s Foundation.

Also in February, Clarence House reiterated its previous statement, saying: “The Prince of Wales had no knowledge of the alleged offer of honours or British citizenship on the basis of donation to his charities.”

‘Crash for cash’ scammers using new tactics to cause road collisions

Motorist William Smith was proud of his perfectly clean driving record before he crashed his car last year.

The 50-year-old was driving home after visiting his mother when his Ford Focus went into the back of an Audi that had stopped suddenly at a roundabout in Nottinghamshire.

He admitted responsibility for the collision, having been driving the rear vehicle, and paid out hundreds of pounds for repairs – but it soon emerged he had been targeted in an attempted fraud.

Dashcam footage revealed Mr Smith was the victim of a suspected “crash for cash” incident – and there are now warnings that criminals behind the dangerous scams are targeting new areas across the UK.

The scams often involve fraudsters slamming on their brakes at busy junctions and roundabouts so the driver behind cannot stop in time.
The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) says it has found evidence that gangs are increasingly travelling out to areas away from the usual hotspots to cause collisions with motorists less familiar with the crime.

Mr Smith stated that he was left “shaken up” by his crash and those behind the scams are causing “pain and strife to innocent people”, as well as risking lives.
“There could be children or elderly, frail people who may not withstand even a small impact,” he said.
“I wasn’t expecting this car in front of me to come to a sudden stop because the road was clear for him.”

‘Substantial’ personal injury claim

Immediately after his collision near Cotgrave, Mr Smith said the Audi driver – who had a passenger in his car – began taking photographs of the damage to his vehicle.
“He was very calm,” Mr Smith said.
“He didn’t seem fussed at all that something had just gone into the back of him.
“It’s the first time I’ve been involved in something like that. I had a perfectly clean driving record until then.”

Mr Smith said his insurance company LV= examined his dashcam footage and he admitted responsibility for the collision.
But several weeks later, the Audi driver made a “substantial” personal injury claim despite the fact the collision happened at low speed, Mr Smith said.

A spokeswoman for LV= said its fraud detection systems picked up some information on the driver which prompted the company to review the incident again.

Mr Smith said his dashcam footage was re-examined and it revealed a second car “seemed to be working in unison” with the Audi vehicle.

The footage showed the second car had driven a full loop around the roundabout before the Audi had apparently stopped suddenly for it, despite being a distance away, he added.

Mr Smith said his insurers tried to contact the Audi driver to state their belief it was a fraudulent claim but received no response and the case was closed.

He stated he is now relieved to know the crash wasn’t his fault but he also felt “anger and frustration” that he had been forced to cover a £400 excess for the car repairs.

Staged accidents ‘back to pre-pandemic levels’
LV= said it had seen increased activity from organised crime groups working together to coordinate crash-for-cash scams.
Staged accidents accounted for the highest insurance fraud type in the last quarter of 2021, it added.
Matt Crabtree, head of fraud strategy at LV=, said: “With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions we’ve started to see staged and induced accidents back to pre-pandemic levels, with increased activity from organised crime groups.
“I urge the public to remain vigilant to this, and look for dashcam or CCTV footage if you’re involved in what you think is an orchestrated accident.”

Crash-for-cash death

It’s more than a decade since the first fatal crash-for-cash incident was recorded in Britain.
Baljinder Kaur Gill, 34, was killed in a collision that had been caused by a deliberate crash on the A40 in Buckinghamshire in 2011.
Members of a Polish gang were involved in an attempted fraud in which a Volkswagen Passat and an Audi A3 were to be crashed into a Ford Transit van in order to claim personal injury compensation.

Ms Gill’s Ford Fiesta was hit by one of the vehicles used in the £20,000 insurance scam and left stranded in the fast lane.

She died when her car was then hit again by a van that was not involved in the scam.

Radoslaw Bielawski and Jacek Kowalczyk were jailed for 10 years and three months and Andrzez Skowron was sentenced to 10 years for their roles in Ms Gill’s death.

New areas targeted

Known crash-for-cash hotspots in the UK include the likes of Birmingham, Bradford, Walsall, Blackburn, Romford, Manchester, Luton and London, according to the IFB.
The bureau has also identified 10 new areas which have been frequently targeted in the last 12 months.
They are:
• Frome, Somerset
• Worksop, Nottinghamshire
• Cirencester, Gloucestershire
• Milton Keynes
• Nottingham
• Shrewsbury
• Warrington, Cheshire
• Leicester
• Ashby, Leicestershire
• Derby

There is also evidence to suggest gangs are targeting villages with the dangerous tactic, the IFB said.
There are now concerns that if local drivers do not know to look out for signs of the scam and report it, cases could rise fast.

Ben Fletcher, director at the IFB, said: “Crash for cash fraudsters are known to evolve their tactics and the latest evidence shows that they’ve started spreading out from prominent crime hotspots to less suspecting towns and cities in the hope that they can avoid detection.
“This change in tactic brings home the fact that no matter where people may live, everyone should be on their guard to these reckless car crash scams.
“To help us stop cases from rising and bring these fraudsters to justice, we urge drivers to look out for signs of crash for cash scams and to report any evidence of it to us straight away.”

There are also fears that the cost of living crisis could make these scams more prevalent.

Detective Chief Inspector Tom Hill, from City of London Police, said: “As we have seen in the past, a rise in cost of living and resulting financial hardships can often drive people to commit fraud.
“Unfortunately, this means that the public need to be even more alert than usual to fraudsters, like crash for cash drivers.”

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