Prince Andrew's long journey from the stormy young Falklands war hero, pictured here in 1982, to the 59-year-old Royal Pariah who stumbled through Saturday's extraordinary TV interview on Saturday, is all about a simple question: what went on earth him for the first time to the billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein?
Prince Andrew's long journey from the stormy young Falklands war hero to the 59-year-old Royal pariah with pasty faces that broke Saturday's extraordinary TV interview revolves around a simple question: what initially attracted him to the billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein?
This poor American financier was after all the living embodiment of the kind of chancer that someone from the duke's pedigree should avoid.
A self-made man, whose personal fortune had been amassed in a very opaque way (some circles claimed to be blackmail and money laundering), Epstein lived like a real Bond villain, using private planes and helicopters to commute between a collection of vulgar mansions that were usually filled with very young girls of doubtful origins.
His home in Florida, where Andrew stayed several times, presumably with police protectors, was decorated with photos of naked teenagers.
It had massage rooms, equipped with sex toys, and guest bathrooms where washbasins were decorated with phallus soap.
But within an exceptionally short time in which he met this dubious character, the prince welcomed Epstein into the circle of the royal family, invited him to a birthday party at Windsor Castle, entertained him at Balmoral, and took him to shoot at Sandringham. thought the queen's favorite son?
As with many old-fashioned stories about power and patronage, the answer is almost certainly about the only thing Epstein had that Andrew desperately wanted: money.
To understand why, we must turn the clock back to the time their relationship was forged, early 2000.
The prince, who had just turned 40, was at a crossroads: soon to leave the Royal Navy, where he had spent his adult life, he had two daughters, a divorce, and a famously expensive ex-wife to finance, together with hobbies involving luxury golf resorts, yachts and exclusive holiday destinations such as St Tropez and the Swiss Alps.
But like most of his family, whose wealth tends to be trapped in estates, paintings, jewelry, and trusts, the duke on paper was not particularly rich in money.
His entire official income indeed consisted of a Queen's allowance, which today is around £ 250,000 a year, plus a naval pension that is thought to yield around £ 20,000 a year.
Prince Andrew is pictured during a vacation on a super yacht in Corsica in 2011. He was a guest of the Saudi billionaire, Hassan Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel, during a three-day break in Corsica worth an estimated £ 85,000
While the British taxpayer coughed for & # 39; air miles & # 39; Andrew to travel the world as the roaming & # 39; trade ambassador & # 39; of the nation (the duke's travel costs were £ 4 million over his decade in the role, while his security costs were another £ 10 million), it would still cost much more to keep him in the style he seemed accustomed to .
That, of course, was where Epstein came in. The shady financier notoriously lent his private jet to the duke – whose love for air travel once extended to taking a helicopter from Windsor Castle to Kent to play golf, for a fee of £ 5,000 for the public.
Meanwhile, the various homes and private islands of Epstein were made available to Andrew, allowing him to live and vacation for free as an oligarch.
On at least one occasion during their sloppy relationship, and perhaps more – Emily Maitlis failed to pin him to this front – Epstein also opened his checkbook.
That moment took place in 2010, when Epstein had long been a convicted child abuser. In particular, less than six months after Andrew decided to spend four nights at his New York mansion. At that time, the financier agreed to pay £ 15,000 to Sarah Ferguson. The cash gift allegedly allowed her to restructure huge debts, which at the time were on their way to the £ 5 million and threatened to make ugly headlines.
It also helped to pay unpaid wages for her former personal assistant, Johnny O & # 39; Sullivan.
Unlike the duke, who has not yet considered appropriate to repent the victims of the productive sex abusers, the duchess gave a crawling mea culpa after the payment finally came to light, calling it a & # 39; giant assessment error & # 39; and I added & # 39; I abhor pedophilia and abuse of children & # 39 ;. She promised to repay the loot & whenever I can & # 39 ;.
Epstein's help to Andrew, however, not only came in the form of freebies and hard money.
So much was made clear during Saturday's Newsnight interview, when the Prince was brutally lyrical about the people I met and the opportunities I had to learn, either through him or through him, who said they "actually very useful."
What he seems to be trying to argue was that Epstein's circle of glamorous and influential contacts was not only entertaining company (for a somewhat lonely man who has few true friends in all respects), but could also be exploited in a potentially valuable raw material. Given the later revelations about Andrew's finances, it's hard to disagree.
Because such people could not only help Prince Andrew with his official trading role, they also had the opportunity to lead seriously profitable business opportunities in his own way.
Prince Andrew's chalet in Verbier, Helora (photo), is a luxury seven-bedroom lodge with six full-time employees and rented for more than £ 22,000 a week. The property features living rooms filled with antiques and a large bedroom draped in animal fur, a 650 m² indoor swimming pool, sauna, sun terrace, boot room, bar and lush entertaining area
Prince Andrew is pictured when leaving a lunch meeting at Harry & # 39; s Bar Members Club. Since leaving the Royal Netherlands Navy in 2001, the duke seems to quietly work out a sideline that works as a kind of commercial & # 39; fixer & # 39; for wealthy business people, using his contact book and Royal Stardust to help them make lucrative deals in distant land corners of the world
Over the years since he left the Royal Netherlands Navy in 2001, the duke seems to be quietly developing a sideline that acts as a kind of commercial & # 39; fixer & # 39; works for wealthy business people, using his contact book and Royal Stardust to help them set up lucrative deals in far corners of the world.
The deals themselves have always been secret, as have the exact commissions he has earned from them.
However, they help explain how the duke has accumulated so much wealth between 2000 and the present.
Sunninghill House, on the outskirts of Windsor Great Park and near Ascot (photo), was sold by Prince Andrew in 2015 for over three million pounds above the asking price
Today, he has visible attributes of turbo-charged prosperity, including a collection of expensive wrist watches – including various Rolexes and Cartiers, a £ 12,000 gold Apple Watch and a £ 150,000 Patek Philippe – and a small fleet of luxury cars, including a new one green Bentley. The duke also seems to have succeeded in losing the £ 5 million debt of his ex-wife.
Then there are huge expenditures on real estate, including the £ 7.5 million that he spent renovating Royal Lodge, his home in Windsor Great Park and the £ 13 million lodge in Switzerland that he acquired in 2014.
Called Chalet Helora, it is a luxury seven-bedroom lodge in the exclusive Verbier ski area, which previously had six full-time employees and was rented for more than £ 22,000 a week. The property features living rooms full of antiques and a large bedroom draped in animal fur, a 650 m² indoor swimming pool, sauna, sun terrace, boot room, bar and lush entertaining area.
For years, these extravagant purchases have stunned friends, given his meager official income and the lack of a good job.
An undated photo shows the Prince grinning from ear to ear as he heads for the slopes in Verbier
Since 2011, his official professional life has centered on a charity for entrepreneurs, Pitch @ Palace, and a decreasing number of official assignments (225 to date in 2019, compared to about twice that in previous years).
"I would compare Andrew to a hot air balloon," an acquaintance once told me. "He seems to float quietly, in very thin circles, with no visible support. No one has ever had an idea how he pays for it. & # 39;
In 2016, however, the Mail received a series of e-mails with details about his extraordinary business contacts with just one of the many groups of politically connected entrepreneurs in his job.
The documents came from the spectacularly corrupt but mineral-rich Central Asian country of Kazakhstan, whose dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev had become chummy with Andrew during trade visits in the mid-2000s: at one point he invited him to goose hunting at one of his remote hunting lodges .
The emails were originally obtained by pro-democracy activists in the country and offered a chilling insight into the moral universe of some of the unreliable oligarchs in the Prince's circle.
A set of emails was sent by a Kazakh businessman (who had previously been photographed on Andrew) to a group of Russian friends. It contained an obscene conversation about teenage prostitutes who would soon accompany them on vacation in the Black Sea area. Attached were video images of each of the girls, thin and incredibly young, dancing in bikinis next to a swimming pool.
Andrew was not a party to this correspondence and it must be emphasized that he also had nothing to do with the holiday in question. His name appeared instead in a separate series of emails, involving a completely different Kazakh businessman named Kenges Rakishev.
On April 14, 2011, the Prince called and personally sent an email to Rakishev on behalf of a Greek water company called EYDAP and a Swiss financing house called Aras Capital, who wanted to bid on a £ 385 million contract to build water and sewer networks two major Kazakh cities, Astana and Almaty, one of which boasted Rakishev's father-in-law as mayor.
Describing the consortium as "we" and a broad description of what he called "the water plan," the prince then said that his private secretary, Amanda Thirsk, would personally help the companies get acquainted with senior Kazakh political figures.
In 2016, the Mail received a tranche of emails with details about the Prince's extraordinary business contacts with only one of the many groups of politically connected entrepreneurs in his job. The documents came from the spectacularly corrupt but mineral-rich Central Asian country of Kazakhstan, whose dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev (photo shook Andrew's hand) in the mid-2000s during trade visits became chummy with Andrew: at one point, he was invited on a goose hunt to one of his remote hunting huts
According to Greek executives involved in the bid, Andrew must have received a one-percent commission, or £ 3.85 million, to help a successful deal.
Coincidentally, one percent is exactly the same commission that the Duchess of York recorded on tape in 2010 and demanded in exchange for access to the Prince, in a newspaper newspaper.
The amount, in addition to a £ 500,000 down payment, would "open any door you want," she told an undercover reporter of the News of the World, posing as a wealthy businessman. "Take care of me and he (Andrew) will take care of you," she claimed.
"You get it back tenfold."
Prince Andrew, Duke of York, saw a new Apple Watch (allegedly a freebie of the 18-carat £ 12,000 gold model) attending the Endurance event at the Royal Windsor Horse Show at Windsor Great Park
But we stray. The e-mails from 2011, on behalf of Greek and Swiss companies, with absolutely no benefit to UK Plc, were sent while Andrew supposedly worked full-time as a UK sales ambassador.
Perhaps intriguing, given recent events with a photo of the sex slave of Andrew and Epstein, Virginia Roberts, Buckingham Palace initially wanted to claim that they were forged.
However, they later admitted that the messages, which & # 39; The Duke & # 39; were signed, were real, but hired Harbottle & Lewis law firm to claim that their publication would violate the Prince's privacy (the Mail successfully replied that they had uncovered a financial and political scandal that was clearly in the public interest) .
The leaked emails also contained reports of the infamous sale of Sunninghill, the former Windsor's 12-bedroom house.
It had disappeared on the market for five years before it suddenly changed ownership in November 2007. The buyer was listed as an opaque company in the British Virgin Islands, who for reasons that had never been properly explained, decided to pay £ 15 million – £ 3 million over the asking price – before leaving the property, decaying for more than eight years, before it is shot on the ground.
The buyer was later named Timur Kulibayev, another Kazakh oligarch who met Andrew on the world trade circuit.
Although Buckingham Palace had long insisted Andrew had no role in selling, the emails showed that his private office had put a lot of effort into mediating the deal, discussing interior design and security arrangements with the buyer, as well as intervened to persuade the Crown Estate lease two fields next to the property to them for a peppercorn rent.
A few years later, Andrew had also sent an email to senior figures at the state's Royal Bank of Scotland asking if they could arrange for the Royal Bank, Coutts (owned by RBS) to include Mr. Kulibayev as a customer. His message asked them to send executives to Kazakhstan to discuss "asset management" with him. Mr. Kulibayev – whose father-in-law is the aforementioned dictator, Nursultan Nazarbayev – is, of course, just one of the many rich but controversial businessmen the duke has been drawn to.
Although none have been as explosively controversial as Epstein, several ugly headlines have been made, including Colonel Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam (right). Mr. Timur Kulibayev (left) – whose father-in-law is the aforementioned Kazakh dictator, Nursultan Nazarbayev – is, of course, just one of the many rich but controversial businessmen the duke has been drawn to
Although none of them have turned out to be as explosively controversial as Epstein, several ugly headlines have been made, from Colonel Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam, to Tarek Kaituni, a convicted Libyan arms smuggler who came to his daughter Eugenie's wedding this summer, Sakher el-Materi, a former member of the Tunisian government who applied for asylum in the Seychelles after being convicted of corruption, and David Rowland, a tycoon and tax exile, once burned a & # 39; obscure financier & # 39; in parliament.
Just like Epstein, they all have bulging wallets and are capable of great charm. No doubt they also give a mean party.
But when a senior Royal chooses to bring a large number of turbo plutocrats into their inner circle, and when their relationships expand into the financial realm, things are in the habit of becoming sour.
Prince Andrew may have said in his notorious interview on Saturday that he is not sweating. But while the charges against him are slowly starting to flood the institution that he represents, the Duke of York can be forgiven for feeling a little warm under the collar.
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