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Sunday, 3 February, 2002, 14:03 GMT
Charles defends Enron meetings
Prince Charles visits a music studio in Bradford connected to the Trust
The Prince's Trust helps disadvantaged young people
Prince Charles has defended himself following revelations he met Enron executives after the company donated 800,000 to the Prince's Trust.

The US energy giant is the largest bankruptcy in history and its collapse is currently the subject of a number of investigations in the US.

The prince met Enron chief executive Kenneth Lay and former chairman of Enron Europe, John Wing, during the 1990s to thank them for the company's corporate sponsorship of his charity.

But a spokeswoman for the prince said it was common practice for him to meet with sponsors.

It is very normal practice for the prince to meet executives to thank them

Prince Charles

The meetings included lunch with Mr Wing at the prince's Highgrove home in Gloucester in 1993 and a reception in Houston, understood to be at Mr Lay's Texas mansion.

The spokeswoman said: "The Prince's Trust receives donations from a large number of corporations and Enron is one of a number of these donors.

Social responsibility

"It is very normal practice for the prince to meet executives to thank them. There is nothing more to it than that."

Prince's Trust spokeswoman Rachel Faulkner said Enron donated 500,000 in 1991 for projects over five years.

Another 300,000, towards a European project for British youngsters, was paid in three equal instalments between 1996 and 1999.
Enron's former chief executive Kenneth Lay
Lay hosted the prince in Texas

The Prince's Trust is one of Prince Charles's most well known charities and provides opportunities to disadvantaged young people.

Ms Faulkner added: "It is quite normal for a charity to invite their major supporters and donors to their key events throughout the year and make them feel involved."

And she said that from the point of view of a large company, the sponsorship demonstrated a "corporate social responsibility" towards local communities.

See also:

03 Feb 02 | Business
Enron executives 'pocketed' millions
03 Feb 02 | Business
Bush proposes pension reforms
02 Feb 02 | Business
White House warned over Enron files
01 Feb 02 | Business
Enron scandal at a glance
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