Now Prince Andrew's Business Deals Are Under Scrutiny - The Libyan Report

Now Prince Andrew's Business Deals Are Under Scrutiny

Prince Andrew has stepped down from his official royal duties after criticism over his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, but now his business career is earning him a new round of scrutiny. On Monday night the BBC will air an interview with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, the woman who claims she had sex with Andrew at Epstein’s direction in 2001 when she was a minor (the prince has denied Giuffre’s claims and said he does not remember meeting her). But over the weekend the headlines contained allegations about more anodyne forms of corruption.

According to emails and files reviewed by the Mail on Sunday, Andrew might have abused his role as a trade representative to pass information and connections to his friends. The newspaper looked at records from a 2010 trip to China, among other internal documents, and concluded that Andrew “exploited his taxpayer-funded role as Britain’s trade envoy to work behind the scenes for his close friend, the controversial multimillionaire financier David Rowland.” In addition, the Mail claims to have uncovered evidence that Andrew co-owned a business with Rowland in the British Virgin Islands, a notorious tax haven. (In a statement to the Mail on Sunday, Buckingham Palace said the aim of his office “was to promote Britain and British interests overseas, not the interests of individuals.”)

In 2010, Andrew invited Rowland’s son Jonathan along on a trip to China funded by the British Foreign Office. On that trip Jonathan promoted the interests of Rowland’s Luxembourg-based bank, Banque Havilland, at official meetings that included Andrew. According to the Mail, Andrew passed a private briefing memo about Iceland’s financial crisis to the Rowlands only months after they bought a portion of a collapsed Icelandic bank, and later, Andrew’s deputy private secretary, Amanda Thirsk, shared a diplomatic cable about Chinese politicians intended only for governmental eyes.

In a statement to the Mail, Chris Bryant, a former minister of the Foreign Office while Andrew was a trade envoy, called for a full parliamentary investigation into the alleged self-dealing. “It all just stinks,” he said. “I don’t think he has ever been able to draw a distinction between his own personal interest and the national interest.”

After his military service ended in 2001, Andrew served as a special trade representative for the U.K. until 2011, when he stepped down after photographs of him with Epstein in Central Park emerged. Andrew has been close to David Rowland for over a decade and invited him to Balmoral in 2010, where he reportedly met Queen Elizabeth and had tea with Prince Charles. Months later Rowland gave Andrew’s ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, £40,000 to help her pay down debts.

Before the prince left his official role in 2011, Jonathan Rowland suggested that Andrew might keep doing his work “under the radar” should he be forced to resign, according to emails obtained by the Mail on Sunday. Andrew responded, “I like your thinking!” Andrew and David Rowland also took a 2008 trip to Libya together, during which Andrew met embattled Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.

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