New cri­sis en­gulfs Prince as MoS in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­veals damn­ing details of his clan­des­tine fi­nan­cial af­fairs

The Mail on Sunday - - Front Page - By Is­abel Oakeshott and Mark Hookham

SCAN­DAL-HIT Prince An­drew is plunged deeper into cri­sis to­day by a dev­as­tat­ing ex­posé of his busi­ness ac­tiv­i­ties by The Mail on Sun­day.

We can re­veal how the Duke of York re­peat­edly ex­ploited his tax­payer- funded role as Bri­tain’s trade en­voy to work be­hind the scenes for his close friend, the con­tro­ver­sial multi- mil­lion­aire fi­nancier David Row­land.

Bomb­shell emails re­veal that while on of­fi­cial trade mis­sions meant to pro­mote UK busi­ness, An­drew was qui­etly plug­ging a pri­vate Lux­em­bourg-based bank for the su­per-rich, owned by Row­land and his fam­ily.

In an as­ton­ish­ing con­flict of in­ter­ests, the Prince al­lowed the Row­lands to shoe­horn meet­ings into his of­fi­cial trade tours so they could ex­pand their bank and woo pow­er­ful and wealthy clients.

He also passed them pri­vate gov­ern­ment doc­u­ments they had no right to see. It can also be re­vealed that, at the time, An­drew co- owned a busi­ness with the Row­lands in a se­cre­tive Caribbean tax haven.

It was to be used to lure the Prince’s wealthy Royal con­tacts to in­vest in a tax-free off­shore fund. One email ex­change re­veals

that when An­drew was fac­ing the sack from his en­voy role be­cause of the Jef­frey Ep­stein scan­dal, Row­land’s son and busi­ness lieu­tenant, Jonathan, sug­gested their com­mer­cial ac­tiv­i­ties could con­tinue ‘un­der the radar’. An­drew re­sponded: ‘I like your think­ing.’

The dev­as­tat­ing rev­e­la­tions come as the Duke faces mount­ing questions about how he funds his op­u­lent life­style. They follow in the wake of his car-crash TV in­ter­view about his links to Ep­stein, the fi­nancier and con­victed sex of­fender who died in jail this sum­mer while await­ing trial for traf­fick­ing un­der­age girls.

He will face fur­ther pressure to­mor­row when an in­ter­view with Vir­ginia Roberts, one of Ep­stein’s vic­tims, airs on BBC1’s Panorama. Ms Roberts, who now uses her mar­ried sur­name Gi­uf­fre, claims she was forced to have sex with Prince An­drew when she was 17 – al­though he has al­ways stren­u­ously de­nied her claims.

She tells the show: ‘It was a re­ally scary time in my life. He knows what hap­pened, I know what hap­pened. And there’s only one of us telling the truth.’

Last night, for­mer MP Nor­man Baker called for Prince An­drew to be stripped of his HRH ti­tle fol­low­ing this news­pa­per’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into his busi­ness links.

And Chris Bryant, who was a For­eign Of­fice Min­is­ter at the time An­drew held his trade en­voy role, de­manded a par­lia­men­tary in­quiry into the Duke’s busi­ness be­hav­iour, which he called ‘morally of­fen­sive’. ‘It all just stinks,’ said Mr Bryant. ‘I don’t think he has ever been able to draw a dis­tinc­tion be­tween his own per­sonal in­ter­est and the na­tional in­ter­est. It’s morally of­fen­sive. Ei­ther the For­eign Af­fairs Committee or the Pub­lic Ac­counts Committee should launch an in­quiry into this.’

Nigel Mills, a Tory mem­ber of the Pub­lic

Ac­counts Committee be­fore the Elec­tion was called, also de­manded an in­quiry, adding: ‘He clearly was never fit to hold that of­fice.

‘Any­one in pub­lic life knows th­ese rules about sep­a­rat­ing your own in­ter­ests from those of the job you are do­ing. What he is do­ing here isn’t even close to the line – it’s a mil­lion miles over it.’

David Row­land, a 74-year-old prop­erty ty­coon, was a tax ex­ile for decades and helped pay off Sarah Fer­gu­son’s huge debts. He quit as Tory Party trea­surer shortly af­ter he was ap­pointed in 2010 amid con­tro­versy sur­round­ing his busi­ness af­fairs.

Leaked emails from Jonathan Row­land also claim An­drew was due to take a fi­nan­cial stake in the Row­land fam­ily bank he was se­cretly help­ing to pro­mote.

The MoS has also l earned t hat in Au­gust, a whistle­blower per­son­ally emailed Prince Charles and warned him about his brother’s trou­bling busi­ness links with David Row­land.

Our in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­veals for the first time how:

Prince An­drew had a 40 per cent stake in a firm based in the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands called In­ver­ness As­set Man­age­ment that was in ex­is­tence un­til March this year;

A doc­u­ment re­veals that ‘ con­tacts’ of the com­pany – in­clud­ing Royal fam­i­lies, heads of state, gov­ern­ment in­sti­tu­tions and wealthy i ndi­vid­u­als – would be tar­geted as po­ten­tial i nvestors in a sep­a­rate in­vest­ment fund to be based in the Cay­man Is­lands and promis­ing a taxfree in­come;

Prince An­drew al­lowed Jonathan Row­land to ac­com­pany him on a tax­payer­funded trade mis­sion to China which Mr

The Duke of York was the UK’s Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for in­ter­na­tional trade and in­vest­ment... the aim, and that of his of­fice, was to pro­mote Bri­tain and Bri­tish in­ter­ests over­seas, not the in­ter­ests of in­di­vid­u­als

– Buck­ing­ham Palace spokesman It all just stinks. I don’t think he has ever been able to draw a dis­tinc­tion be­tween his own per­sonal in­ter­est and the na­tional in­ter­est. It’s morally of­fen­sive

– For­mer For­eign Of­fice Min­is­ter Chris Bryant ‘This is not close to the line - it’s a mil­lion miles over it’

Row­land then used to plug his fam­ily’s bank. The Duke in­vited Row­land to choose which meet­ings he wanted to at­tend;

Row­land in­serted into An­drew’s China sched­ule a meet­ing with Louis Che­ung, the pres­i­dent of Ping An, the world’s largest in­sur­ance com­pany, worth an es­ti­mated £171 bil­lion, and pro­posed that they could be­come busi­ness part­ners;

In an as­ton­ish­ing breach of pro­to­col, An­drew’s aide, Amanda Thirsk, handed the Row­lands a For­eign Of­fice diplo­matic ca­ble in­tended only for gov­ern­ment officials that con­tained details of An­drew’s

one-to-one con­ver­sa­tions with se­nior Chi­nese politi­cians;

On an­other oc­ca­sion, An­drew de­manded a pri­vate brief­ing memo from Trea­sury chiefs about the Ice­landic fi­nan­cial cri­sis, then passed it to the Row­lands. Months ear­lier, they had bought part of a col­lapsed Ice­landic bank in a £86 mil­lion deal;

An­drew also took Jonathan Row­land on an of­fi­cial trade mis­sion to Saudi Ara­bia where the pair met Prince Sul­tan bin Sal­man bin Abu­laziz al Saud, the se­cond son of the coun­try’s current monarch. Fol­low­ing that meet­ing, Mr Row­land told the Saudi royal, via an aide, that An­drew was con­sid­er­ing be­com­ing a part­ner in his fam­ily’s bank and asked him if he would like a stake in it, too;

In one ex­change of emails with the Saudi Prince, Mr Row­land boasted that he acted as a mid­dle man not just for Prince An­drew but for the Bri­tish Royal Fam­ily;

Dur­ing an­other tax­payer­funded trade trip, Prince An­drew lob­bied the King of Bahrain about the Row­lands’ plan to open an off­shoot of their bank in the Mid­dle East­ern coun­try. He later tele­phoned an of­fi­cial to help get the po­ten­tially lu­cra­tive ven­ture off the ground.

The dev­as­tat­ing rev­e­la­tions come just weeks af­ter An­drew was stripped of his Royal du­ties amid anger over his links to Ep­stein and his calami­tous BBC in­ter­view.

There are also sug­ges­tions that An­drew may have to re­sign his role l ead­ing Pitch@ Palace, his pet pro­ject which matches in­vestors with tech start-up com­pa­nies, af­ter it emerged he was en­ti­tled to a two per cent share of any in­vest­ment deal struck. He says he has never taken ad­van­tage of that clause. The son of a scrap metal dealer, David Row­land, whose ni ck­name is ‘Spotty’, made his first mil­lion aged 24 and went on to amass a prop­erty and in­vest­ment for­tune worth a re­ported £612 mil­lion. He and his son Jonathan are ranked 226th in the Sun­day Times Rich List

An­drew and pub­lic­ity-shy David Row­land have been friends since at least 2005. That year, the Prince un­veiled a bronze statue of the fi­nancier in the grounds of Hav­il­land Hall, Mr Row­land’s sprawl­ing es­tate in Guernsey. In 2009, An­drew pub­licly launched the Row­lands’ bank in Lux­em­bourg.

Bought from the ashes of a col­lapsed Ice­landic fi­nan­cial in­sti­tut i on, i t was re­named Banque Hav­il­land, af­ter Mr Row­land’s Chan­nel Is­land home. It of­fered dis­creet pri­vate bank­ing services for the world’s bil­lion­aires.

Mr Row­land was in­vited to Bal­moral as An­drew’s guest in 2010 and re­port­edly met the Queen and had tea with Prince Charles. Four months later, Mr Row­land paid £40,000 to help clear the mas­sive debts of the Duke’s for­mer wife Sarah Fer­gu­son.

Last night, Nor­man Baker, a for­mer MP who re­cently pub­lished a damn­ing book about Royal fi­nances, said last night: ‘This is out­ra­geous be­hav­iour by Prince An­drew. Any Min­is­ter who be­haved in this way would be sum­mar­ily sacked. Even an MP who be­haved in this way would face questions from the Com­mons Stan­dards Committee. We have all had enough of Prince An­drew. He should have his HRH des­ig­na­tion re­moved. As far as I am con­cerned he should be per­sona non grata and not be seen in any way to rep­re­sent this coun­try.’

The MoS ap­proached Buck­ing­ham Palace with the re­sults of our in­ves­ti­ga­tion last Monday, de­tail­ing 24 questions for the Duke.

Six days later, the Palace is­sued the fol­low­ing statement: ‘The Duke was the UK’s Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for In­ter­na­tional Trade and In­vest­ment be­tween 2001 and July 2011 and in that time the aim, and that of his of­fice, was to pro­mote Bri­tain and Bri­tish in­ter­ests over­seas, not the i nter­ests of in­di­vid­u­als.’

The Duke did not pro­vide a com­ment for pub­li­ca­tion, and the Row­lands de­clined to com­ment for le­gal rea­sons.

CON­TRO­VERSY: Prince An­drew with David Row­land at the fi­nancier’s lux­ury home on the is­land of Guernsey


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