Prince Andrew is facing calls for an inquiry after claims that he acted as a fixer in a multi-million deal in Kazakhstan.
Leaked emails reveal that the Queen’s son was allegedly in line for nearly £4 million in commission from a murky deal in the oil-rich country, while also working as a special trade envoy for Britain.
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He used his royal status to help kickstart the £385million venture on behalf of Greek and Swiss clients.
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The Mail Online reports:
Anti-monarchy campaigners last night called for an inquiry.
And former Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker said: ‘Prince Andrew’s continuing close relationship with questionable figures in Kazakhstan brings the Royal Family into disrepute. There are also serious questions about a conflict of interest in his former role as trade envoy which on the face of it seems to be more about enriching himself than helping the UK.’
The disclosures shine a light on how Prince Andrew may have maintained his jetset lifestyle with no obvious source of income apart from a small Navy pension and an allowance from the Queen.
The emails show that in April 2011 he used his relationship with the Kazakh oligarch Kenges Rakishev to quietly help a Greek utility firm and a Swiss finance house bid for infrastructure contracts.
The Duke of York called and then emailed Mr Rakishev asking for assistance for the two firms: Aras Capital, from Zurich, and EYDAP, Greece’s largest water firm.
The companies wanted to build water and sewage networks in two of Kazakhstan’s largest cities and had turned to Prince Andrew for help.
Mr Rakishev quickly arranged meetings in Kazakhstan for the boss of EYDAP and its Swiss financiers with the mayors of Astana and Almaty along with representatives of local water authorities.
For his role, Prince Andrew was to be offered a commission fee of 1 per cent – or around £3.83million, a source at the water firm has revealed. In the event, the deal fell apart when, in late 2011, Kazakh police opened fire on a group of striking oil workers in the city of Zhanaozen, killing 14. Fearing that they would be caught up in political turmoil EYDAP pulled out.
The prince’s spokesman David Pogson initially denied that he had done any work for the Swiss and Greek firms when first approached by the Mail.
However, the Mail then provided the palace with a copy of an email which Andrew had personally sent to Mr Rakishev on behalf of both EDYAP and Aras on April 14, 2011. The palace suggested our email was a forgery but then tried to stop its publication on privacy grounds. In 2007 Mr Rakishev brokered the mysterious sale of Prince Andrew’s former marital home in Berkshire.
After languishing unsold for five years, the property was bought for £15million – £3million over the asking price – by an oligarch called Timur Kulibayev, the son-in-law of Kazakhstan’s autocratic president, Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Prince Andrew became UK special representative for international trade and investment in October 2001.
He was supposed to promote UK business interests abroad but was accused of cashing in on connections with oil-rich trading partners and of developing questionable friendships with disreputable figures. He announced he was stepping down from the position in July 2011 following criticism over his friendship with controversial figures, including convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Graham Smith of Republic, which campaigns for the end of the monarchy, called for an inquiry, adding: ‘On the face of it this appears to represent a clear abuse of Andrew’s position as trade envoy.’