Quiz for Charles on land deals

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The Independent Online

The Prince of Wales may be forced to reveal secret details of his growing property empire this week to prove that he is not investing in "ethically suspect" supermarkets and office blocks.

The Prince of Wales may be forced to reveal secret details of his growing property empire this week to prove that he is not investing in "ethically suspect" supermarkets and office blocks.

His two most senior financial aides are to be grilled by MPs on the powerful Public Accounts Committee (PAC) tomorrow and asked whether he has invested in any properties of the type he has criticised as "unsustainable" or "unethical".

Prince Charles has seen his income soar in recent years, largely due to rents earned from a growing commercial property portfolio. The empire brought more than £5mto the coffers of the Duchy of Cornwall last year and was responsible for a 20 per cent increase in its income.

Now MPs want to know whether all the Prince's investments meet his own architectural standards and ethical concerns.

"It would be intriguing to know whether the duchy has invested in any out-of-town supermarkets or other 'carbuncles'," one PAC member said yesterday.

The details of what premises are owned by the Duchy of Cornwall are shrouded in mystery. Its secretary, Bertie Ross, and chief executive, Keith Willis, will be asked to lift the veil when they appear before the PAC.

MPs are also keen to investigate how the Prince divides expenditure between his official functions and his private life.

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