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Prince Andrew ‘paid £750,000 by millionairess for assistance with passport but repaid cash’

Prince Andrew 'paid £750,000 by millionairess for assistance with passport but repaid cash' 2

Prince Andrew is embroiled in a legal riddle over a £750,000 payment from a Turkish millionairess.

Nebahat Isbilen, 77, who claims to have been scammed out of fortune by a dishonest businessman, was allegedly tricked into giving the Duke of York money ‘by way of payment for assistance’ with her passport, a court heard.

The prince has since repaid the cash after she alleged it was a scam. She said she had been hoodwinked by a middleman.

Details of the extraordinary case, which have emerged at the High Court, come only a month after Andrew settled an alleged rape case against him in the American courts.

He allegedly paid his accuser Virginia Roberts up to £12million in February. He has always denied the allegations. 

The Queen is reported to have helped settle the duke’s civil case by personally making a donation to his accuser’s charity in support of victims’ rights.

Ever since, the duke has been battling to keep his place in royal life, most recently by escorting the Queen at her memorial service to Prince Philip this week.

Andrew, 62, is not central to the latest legal proceedings, but both he and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson have been named as having received ‘substantial sums’. There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing on their part.

Last night there was no explanation from the prince about the mystery over the £750,000 – or of how he became involved.

Prince Andrew, 62, is not central to the latest legal proceedings

Prince Andrew, 62, is not central to the latest legal proceedings

Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson have been named as having received ‘substantial sums’. There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing on their part.

Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson have been named as having received ‘substantial sums’. There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing on their part.

The payment to Andrew came days after Mr Turk won an award at the Duke’s Dragons Den-style competition, known as Pitch@Palace, at St James’s Palace

The payment to Andrew came days after Mr Turk won an award at the Duke’s Dragons Den-style competition, known as Pitch@Palace, at St James’s Palace

The royal insisted on accompanying the Queen from Windsor Castle to Westminster Abbey on Tuesday

The royal insisted on accompanying the Queen from Windsor Castle to Westminster Abbey on Tuesday

The court case has been brought by Mrs Isbilen, the wealthy wife of a Turkish MP jailed in their homeland in what was said to be a politically motivated imprisonment.

She came to live in Britain, and entrusted her vast fortune – some $87million (£66million) – to a London-based Turkish businessman and former banker, Selman Turk, who was tasked with moving her wealth out of reach of their political enemies in Turkey, the court heard.

But her arrangement with Mr Turk, 35, turned sour and she is suing him. She claims Mr Turk ‘dishonestly misappropriated’ some $50million (£38million) of her money, the High Court has been told.

The complex case is ongoing, no trial has taken place and the allegations have not been resolved. But in preliminary hearings, it was alleged that substantial sums were paid to the Duke and Duchess of York.

In a court document setting out Mrs Isbilen’s claims, it is suggested she was fooled into paying the royal.

Her ‘particulars of claim’ document states: ‘In or around November 2019, Mr Turk told Mrs Isbilen that she needed to make a purported “gift” of £750,000 to HRH Duke of York by way of payment for assistance that he told her HRH Duke of York had provided in relation to Mrs Isbilen’s Turkish passport.’

The document makes clear that the passport suggestion was a ruse.

It was reported she believed she was paying for help with a passport so she could flee political persecution in Turkey.

The document states: ‘The representation that Mrs Isbilen needed to make a gift to HRH Duke of York in connection with her passport (or for any other purpose) was false, and Mr Turk made it dishonestly, knowing it to be false and intending Mrs Isbilen to rely on it.’

Prince Andrew waved at photographers as he and the Queen returned to Windsor Castle this afternoon following a Westminster Abbey service celebrating Prince Philip

Prince Andrew waved at photographers as he and the Queen returned to Windsor Castle this afternoon following a Westminster Abbey service celebrating Prince Philip

The Duke of York (centre) and the Earl of Wessex (right) during a Service of Thanksgiving for the life of the Duke of Edinburgh

The Duke of York (centre) and the Earl of Wessex (right) during a Service of Thanksgiving for the life of the Duke of Edinburgh

Prince Andrew is seen driving near Windsor Castle yesterday morning ahead of the memorial service for his late father today

Prince Andrew is seen driving near Windsor Castle yesterday morning ahead of the memorial service for his late father today

Such a powerful and public endorsement would also suggest that she wanted to remind people he had not admitted any wrongdoing and, for all the repulsiveness of the Jeffrey Epstein affair, he had not been found guilty of anything but gross misjudgment

Andrew is said to be determined to honour his father despite fears his presence could dominate coverage of the service

The trick is said to have worked, with Mrs Isbilen – wrongly believing she had to pay Andrew – authorising the transfer of £750,000 on November 15, 2019.

She has since had the money repaid. The court document, dated in January this year, states: ‘Mrs Isbilen has now received £750,000 from HRH Duke of York.’

The payment to Andrew came days after Mr Turk won an award at the Duke’s Dragons Den-style competition, known as Pitch@Palace, at St James’s Palace, it was reported last night.

The £750,000 was authorised for transfer after the event for Heyman AI, a digital bank aimed at millennials, which went bust 18 months later, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Mrs Isbilen said in her witness statement that she believes the payment might have been connected to Mr Turk’s appearance at the event, which she also attended.

She said: ‘I can only wonder if there is any connection between this event and the Duke of York transfer.’

David Halpern QC, sitting as a deputy High Court judge, named the Yorks in a filing published on March 16.

Referring to a written submission by Mrs Isbilen’s lawyer Jonathan Tickner, the judge said enquiries had shown that, in relation to £1million of her funds, ‘the money was used for purposes unconnected with Mrs Isbilen, e.g. substantial sums were paid to Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and to Sarah, Duchess of York’

No further details were given.

Last night, Mr Tickner, claimed: ‘Mrs Isbilen is the victim of financial wrongdoing carried out at the hands of Selman Turk, a man she trusted to help her through extremely difficult circumstances.

‘He abused her trust and she has brought her claim in the High Court to recover the money taken from her. The court documents and decisions given in her case to date speak for themselves. She is determined to prosecute her claims against all those involved.’

Yesterday Mr Turk, who is said to own majority shares in a string of offshore companies, could not be contacted for comment. The court has heard Mr Turk disputes Mrs Isbilen’s allegations and ‘disagrees with her portrayal of the facts’.

He was described as ‘very co-operative’ in one court document, and he told the judge he ‘had nothing to hide’.

Last night a spokesman for Andrew declined to comment.

Earlier this week, the Daily Mail revealed how the Royal Family had been left ‘dismayed’ by Andrew demanding to take centre stage at his father’s memorial service.

The royal insisted on accompanying the Queen from Windsor Castle to Westminster Abbey on Tuesday. But to the shock of many in the congregation he then escorted his mother all the way to her front-row position.

It had been expected that the Dean of Westminster would take the Queen to her seat, with Andrew walking behind.

In January, Andrew settled a £6.7million debt with a French socialite who sold him his luxury Swiss ski chalet.

Isabelle de Rouvre had sued the Duke of York for the millions he and his ex-wife Sarah owed for Chalet Helora in the exclusive resort of Verbier.

But she dropped the legal action at the start of this year after declaring: ‘He has paid the money.’

It paved the way for Andrew to sell the chalet.

In July 2020, the duke’s eldest daughter Beatrice married Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in a ceremony that was paid for privately.

Duke of York in profile: From Falklands War hero to controversial royal who settled sex case for £12million

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of York arriving to attend a church service in Hillington, Norfolk, on January 19, 2020

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of York arriving to attend a church service in Hillington, Norfolk, on January 19, 2020

During the Duke of York’s life, the ‘Playboy Prince’ has earned high regard for his bravery during the Falklands War and served as a trade envoy, but he is best known as the man whose reputation was left in tatters amid the Jeffrey Epstein sex scandal. As a young man, he was one of the world’s most eligible bachelors and earned himself the nickname ‘Randy Andy’ after being linked to a string of beautiful women.

But later in life his connections with controversial foreign figures raised concerns and he was dubbed ‘Air Miles Andy’ after being criticised for his globe-trotting, especially helicopter trips to pursue his passion for golf. At 22, Andrew saw active service in the Royal Navy as a Sea King helicopter pilot in the Falklands War. His service included flying his aircraft as a decoy target, trying to divert deadly Exocet missiles away from British ships.

He later married and divorced the bubbly, flame-haired Sarah ‘Fergie’ Ferguson, who herself has generated some of the most humiliating royal scandals of modern times. When a bachelor for a second time, Andrew again made headlines, having been spotted cavorting with topless women on holiday in Thailand, and attending a ‘hookers and pimps’ party with Robert Maxwell’s daughter, Ghislaine Maxwell, in the US.

After serving for 22 years in the Royal Navy, the duke became the UK’s special representative for international trade and investment, but his 10 years in the role generated a great deal of controversy. As a roving ambassador, one of his first tasks was a post-September 11 trip to New York, but he was criticised for attending a party during his stay.

Andrew has faced questions over his connections to politicians in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Tunisia, Libya and Turkmenistan. His judgement was questioned after he held meetings with Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saif, and when he entertained the son-in-law of Tunisia’s ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali at Buckingham Palace.

His relations with Timur Kulibayev, son-in-law of the then-president of Kazakhstan, were also scrutinised after Mr Kulibayev purchased the duke’s Sunninghill Park home for £3 million more than its £12 million asking price in 2007. Simon Wilson, Britain’s deputy head of mission in Bahrain from 2001 to 2005, wrote in the Daily Mail that the duke was ‘more commonly known among the British diplomatic community in the Gulf as HBH: His Buffoon Highness’.

In 2011, it emerged that Andrew was friends with American financier Epstein, who was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2008 for soliciting a minor for prostitution. Photos surfaced of him with his arm around Virginia Giuffre, also known as Virginia Roberts, who claimed that Epstein employed her as a masseuse but exploited her while a teenage minor.

The duke was also pictured walking in New York’s Central Park with Epstein in December 2010, a year after Epstein’s release from prison, and this led him to quit his role as a trade envoy. In 2013, Andrew was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, but Britain’s pre-eminent scientific institution faced unprecedented dissent from members over the move, with one professor describing the duke as an ‘unsavoury character’.

Tech-savvy Andrew, who was the first member of the royal family to have an official Twitter account under his own name, focused on his Pitch@Palace work, bringing together industry experts with young entrepreneurs and technology start-ups. Then in 2015, while enjoying a New Year skiing holiday with his family, he was named in US court documents as having had sex a number of times with a teenage girl, a minor under US law.

The woman alleged she was ‘procured’ for the duke by Epstein, whom she accused of using her as a ‘sex slave’. She was identified in reports as Giuffre, the US teenager with whom Andrew had been pictured. The duke vehemently denied the allegation. In April 2015, a US federal judge ordered the claims to be struck from civil court records as the long-running lawsuit against Epstein continued.

But Andrew’s association with Epstein hit the headlines once again in 2019, amid ongoing investigations into the American, who killed himself in prison in August that year while awaiting trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges. The duke’s appearance on the BBC’s Newsnight programme later in November was intended to draw a line under the matter.

But it was dubbed a ‘car crash’, with commentators questioning his responses and condemning his unsympathetic tone and lack of remorse over his friendship with the sex offender Epstein. During the interview, Andrew denied that he slept with Ms Giuffre, saying one encounter in 2001 did not happen as he had spent the day with his daughter, Princess Beatrice, taking her to Pizza Express in Woking for a party.

The same alleged sexual liaison, which the American said began with the royal sweating heavily as they danced at London nightclub Tramp, was later branded factually wrong as the duke said he had a medical condition at the time which meant he did not sweat. And he twice stated that his relationship with sex offender Epstein had provided ‘seriously beneficial outcomes’, giving him the opportunity to meet people and prepare for his future role as a trade envoy.

In January, Andrew’s lawyers attempted to throw out the civil sex case brought by Ms Giuffre, but a judge rejected this and ruled the case could go to trial. The Queen stripped Andrew of his honorary military roles in response, and he gave up his HRH style, before demanding a jury trial.

But on February 15, their lawyers reached an out-of-court settlement in what eventually became a conclusion to the case. On March 8, it was revealed that Andrew had paid an estimated £12million to his US sex accuser – bringing the case against him to a close.

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