Prince Charles' health charity shut down after fraud investigation

Prince Charles

Prince Charles, who set up the Foundation for Integrated Health, at a gala the day before his charity said it was closing after a suspected fraud

A charity founded by the Prince of Wales is being shut down just days after a former senior official was arrested on suspicion of fraud and money laundering.

The trustees of The Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health announced today that the planned closure had been brought forward as a result of a fraud investigation at the charity.

A 49-year-old man was arrested on Monday with a 54-year-old woman, both on suspicion of fraud and money laundering.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said both were bailed until June.

The arrests reportedly followed an investigation into £300,000 of unaccounted funds in the books of the charity, set up in 1993 by Charles.

It was set up to bring complementary therapies into mainstream healthcare.

A spokesman today said the formal closure process would take several weeks but the charity had stopped its operations with immediate effect.

Today's statement from the charity said: 'The Trustees of The Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health have decided to close the charity.

'Whilst the closure has been planned for many months and is part of an agreed strategy, the Trustees have brought forward the closure timetable as a result of a fraud investigation at the charity.

'The Trustees feel that The Foundation has achieved its key objective of promoting the use of integrated health.'

The board said that the foundation had run a seven-year programme which had resulted in an independent self-regulatory body for complementary therapy, called the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council, being created in 2008.

And earlier this month, the Secretary of State for Health announced plans to introduce statutory regulation for herbalists and to consider the equivalent for acupuncture.

The statement continued: 'The Trustees believe that the best way of promoting integrated healthcare in the future is through the networks of specialist practitioners which the charity has helped to establish.

The Prince of Wales

End of the road: The Prince of Wales and Alan Titchmarsh, with the Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health award winners in 2008

'These networks have brought together specialists and proponents of integrated healthcare, such as doctors, nurses, clinicians, consultants, scientists and students.'

Following the trustees' announcement, a Clarence House spokesman said: 'The Prince of Wales is proud of the achievements of his Foundation, which has brought together hundreds of advocates of integrated health who can work more closely together to meet patients' needs.

'The prince has been a catalyst for raising the profile of integrated health through convening a wide array of healthcare professionals and will continue to advocate the benefits of complementary therapies as well as supporting a wide variety of health organisations.

'HRH is patron of many healthcare organisations including Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Macmillan Cancer Care, The Duchy Health Charity and Combat Stress.'

Clarence House declined to comment on the arrests, saying earlier this week it was 'a matter for the police'.

The Foundation came under fire in recent years from some critics for allegedly promoting 'unscientific' approaches to health care.

In February, MPs on the Commons Science and Technology Committee called for an end to homeopathy treatment on the NHS.

But the Foundation's medical director, Dr Michael Dixon, insisted patients benefited from the treatment.

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