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RICHARD KAY: How grateful Duke of York remains to the man who paid off £1.5 million loan is clear


It is a short flight by private jet – his own, naturally – from David Rowland’s luxury Channel Islands hideaway to tax-efficient Luxembourg, home of the private bank controlled by the businessman’s family.

And over the years no one has enjoyed those triple comforts provided by the tycoon’s enviable generosity quite as enthusiastically as Prince Andrew.

After one such trip on the £40 million jet owned by Tory donor Rowland, the son of a scrap merchant, Andrew was moved to rhapsody about its luxury.

Multimillionaire David Rowland paid off a £1.5 million loan for Prince Andrew (pictured together at Royal Ascot in 2006)

‘I have a completely different outlook on life and its possibilities now – whilst trying not to let it go to my head,’ he wrote to the property dealer’s son, Jonathan, adding, ‘Very difficult!’

Yesterday just how grateful he remains to the man who has a £600 million fortune was clear after it emerged that Mr Rowland had paid off a £1.5 million loan the Duke of York had taken out with his friend’s bank.

The extraordinary revelation shows how inextricably enmeshed Andrew’s life has become with those of the very wealthy he likes to surround himself with.

They include the disgraced sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, over whom the Prince remains in legal limbo, to the Kazakh oligarch who paid £3 million over the asking price for the Prince’s former marital home, and David Rowland.

Video grab of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank wedding showing financier David Rowland in the background, with Kate Moss to his right

Video grab of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank wedding showing financier David Rowland in the background, with Kate Moss to his right

And of them all it is the enduring relationship with Mr Rowland, one of the Conservative Party’s biggest benefactors, that remains the most opaque.

Their friendship has been mutually rewarding. Thanks to Andrew, ‘Spotty’ Rowland met the Queen at Balmoral and just three years ago he had one of the most prized front row seats – close to the Royal Family – at the Windsor wedding of Princess Eugenie.

But then this is the way Andrew operates, rubbing shoulders with the very rich who delight in the cachet of being with the ‘royals’ and introducing them to their friends.

And in that regard Mr Rowland, who obtained his nickname after making his first £1 million aged just 23 and still suffering from adolescent skin problems, has certainly enjoyed the kudos.

Mr Rowland paid off a £1.5million loan Prince Andrew had taken out from Banque Havilland, which is owned by Mr Rowland

Mr Rowland paid off a £1.5million loan Prince Andrew had taken out from Banque Havilland, which is owned by Mr Rowland

On a visit to the magnate’s property on the tax haven of Guernsey in 2005, Andrew unveiled a bronze statue of his friend (in Churchillian pose, complete with cigar) as part of a black tie celebration of Mr Rowland’s many successes.

And when Mr Rowland wanted a prominent figure to open a new branch of the Banque Havilland – the bank takes its name from his Guernsey estate – who else but Andrew was on hand to do the honours?

In his speech the prince lavished praise on Mr Rowland who at that time – in 2009 – had surrendered his tax exile status of four decades in order to donate money to the Tories.

‘I welcome the initiative of an English family who took the risk of investing outside the borders of the United Kingdom,’ he said. ‘Such a motivated team that is able to work beyond borders and cultural barriers can only expect success.

‘In the past I have had the pleasure to meet and work with the Rowland family in the framework of my functions and I wish the family every success in this new business venture.’

Mr Rowland basked in the applause that followed Andrew’s address.

That moment solidified an unlikely kinship between two men from very different backgrounds. In other ways, they have much in common.

Both have unconventional private lives and neither enjoy having their wealth or its whereabouts scrutinised.

At the time their friendship became public knowledge, Andrew was still UK trade ambassador and was defending himself against accusations that he had exploited the role, particularly in the connections he made on his frequent five-star, taxpayer funded trips to Central Asia.

But according to Bloomberg, the financial news outlet, Andrew who had operated as ‘an unofficial door opener for Rowland and his family’ for more than a decade, opened a loan facility with Banque Havilland, which by March 2017 had been extended some ten times to a total of £1.25 million.

Less than two weeks after getting the increased loan, Bloomberg says, Mr Rowland wired £1.5 million to a UK Banque Havilland account belonging to Andrew. Above: The Banque Havilland SA headquarters in Luxembourg

Less than two weeks after getting the increased loan, Bloomberg says, Mr Rowland wired £1.5 million to a UK Banque Havilland account belonging to Andrew. Above: The Banque Havilland SA headquarters in Luxembourg

For David 'Spotty' Rowland (pictured), a visit to Balmoral to meet the Queen in the summer of 2010 marked the peak of his social ascent

For David ‘Spotty’ Rowland (pictured), a visit to Balmoral to meet the Queen in the summer of 2010 marked the peak of his social ascent

Questions about the links between the Duke and the Rowland family have raged for years and these disclosures will only add to doubts about potential conflicts created by his social circle

Questions about the links between the Duke and the Rowland family have raged for years and these disclosures will only add to doubts about potential conflicts created by his social circle

In November of that year the loan was extended by a further £250,000 to cover the Prince’s ‘general working capital and living expenses’.

The loan sheds a light on something that has puzzled the public and royal observers for years: how has the Prince maintained such a lavish lifestyle on a Royal Navy pension and an allowance from the Queen.

Intriguingly Bloomberg said leaked internal documents suggested staff had raised concerns that the unsecured loan was ‘not in line with the risk appetite of the bank’.

Though, almost incredibly, Bloomberg added that the credit application suggested the Queen could repay the loan if her son was unable to find the money.

Less than two weeks after getting the increased loan, Bloomberg says, Mr Rowland wired £1.5 million to a UK Banque Havilland account belonging to Andrew.

Questions about the links between the Duke and the Rowland family have raged for years and these disclosures will only add to doubts about potential conflicts created by his social circle. 

On various occasions Mr Rowland, who is ranked 226th in Sunday Times Rich List, has been described as financial advisor to the Prince.

On various occasions Mr Rowland, above right with his son (centre) has been described as financial advisor to the Prince

On various occasions Mr Rowland, above right with his son (centre) has been described as financial advisor to the Prince

The loan sheds a light on something that has puzzled the public and royal observers for years: how has the Prince maintained such a lavish lifestyle on a Royal Navy pension and an allowance from the Queen. Above: Prince Andrew on a skiing holiday in Verbier, Switzerland, in February 2007

The loan sheds a light on something that has puzzled the public and royal observers for years: how has the Prince maintained such a lavish lifestyle on a Royal Navy pension and an allowance from the Queen. Above: Prince Andrew on a skiing holiday in Verbier, Switzerland, in February 2007

And there was uproar over Andrew’s decision to allow the businessman’s son, Jonathan, to accompany him on trade envoy missions to China and Saudi Arabia.

Two years ago it was reported that Andrew had travelled on the Rowlands’ sumptuous 14-seater private plane on at least five occasions while on official royal business. It was after one such trip that he wrote that gushing email of thanks to Jonathan Rowland.

The friendship dates at least to 2005 – the year of the statue unveiling. It was a visit that revealed a lot about both men.

For Andrew it was about breaking precedent. Normally members of the Royal Family stay at Government House when visiting Guernsey. On this occasion Andrew stayed with the Rowlands.

The official explanation was that ‘it was going to be a late night’. But Havilland Hall is only 500 yards from Government House.

Eleven years ago in this newspaper I revealed how Andrew had invited his friend to Balmoral where, after meeting the Queen, he was entertained to a picnic lunch. During the same trip he was introduced to the Prince of Wales.

Nevertheless in 2018 ‘Spotty’ was among the favoured friends upon whom Andrew bestowed a much coveted invitation to his younger daughter’s wedding at St George’s Chapel.

The links between the men were further entrenched when Mr Rowland paid £40,000 towards the debts run up by the Duchess of York after her business empire collapsed in 2010. At the same time the Duchess had accepted £15,000 from Jeffrey Epstein, which she later admitted had been a ‘gigantic error of judgement’.

Further links surfaced after it emerged that the Prince and Mr Rowland had secretly flown to Libya together when Andrew met its brutal leader Colonel Gaddafi.

And last year Bloomberg said during Andrew’s tenure as trade ambassador he helped the Rowland family ‘pitch their services to potential clients’.

But it is not just money that cemented their friendship – though Andrew is drawn with giddying propensity to the super rich. Like the Duke of York, who lives with ex-wife, David Rowland has had an somewhat unorthodox approach to family life.

He married first when he was 21 and had two children. By the time he and Sheila were divorced in 1985, he already had another son with another woman. 

Linda became his second wife. The first Mrs Rowland remained deeply involved in his family affairs.

Forced to stand down from his public life in the fall-out from the Epstein affair, Andrew has become a virtual recluse. 

In the publicity-shy David Rowland he has a friend who has continued to stand by him. It is a virtue that even his enemies say commends him.

Call for Parliamentary inquiry into why banker who loaned Prince Andrew £1.5million gave him the same amount in cash to pay it back: Tory donor David Rowland’s bank said money was to ‘cover living expenses’

by JAMES ROBINSON and HARRY HOWARD for MailOnline 

A call has been made for an investigation after reports today emerged that Prince Andrew had a loan from a major Tory donor’s private bank extended to £1.5million to cover his ‘living expenses’ just days before the tycoon transferred a similar amount of money into his account.

Businessman David Rowland, 76, wired the money to a London bank account held by the Duke of York – a long-term friend of his – in December 2017, it was claimed.

The prince’s account was with Banque Havilland SA – a Luxembourg based private bank owned by Mr Rowland and his family.

The transfer to Prince Andrew’s account was earmarked for a repayment of a £1.5million loan from Banque Havilland, according to documents reportedly seen by Bloomberg News.

The unsecured loan had, according to reports, been increased 11 days earlier by £250,000 to cover the Prince’s ‘working capital and living expenses’ – despite concern that it was ‘not in line with the bank’s risk appetite’.

But, according to Bloomberg, bank staff approved the extension, having noted that the loan opened up ‘further business potential with the Royal Family’. 

Norman Baker, a former government minister and the author of a book about the royal family’s finances, today said there were ‘significant questions’ to answer about Prince Andrew’s business dealings.

He added that Parliament should investigate the matter with ‘some urgency’. 

Mr Rowland is the son of a London scrap dealer who has donated more than £6million to the Conservative party. He has enjoyed a long-term friendship with the 61-year-old Duke.

The property mogul, who since leaving school without qualifications has amassed a £650million business empire, even visited Balmoral to meet the Queen in the summer of 2010. 

He also reportedly flew to Libya with Andrew in 2011 when the Prince met Colonel Gaddafi.

The businessman has come under fire for his own dealings, including reportedly travelling to North Korea to become a private banker for the family of dictator Kim Jong Un. His son Jonathan, who like his father is a businessman, denied at the time of the 2019 reports that his family had anything to do with North Korea. 

A Guernsey resident, Mr Rownald backed out of becoming a Tory treasurer in 2010 amid a backlash over his former status as a tax exile.

His relationship with Prince Andrew has also previously been called into question, with the Mail of Sunday reporting in 2019 that Prince Andrew had promoted Mr Rowland’s bank while on official trade business for the UK. The Duke officially opened the bank for the Rowlands in Luxembourg in 2009.

Representatives for Prince Andrew today described any transfer of funds between the pair as a ‘private’, while Havilland Bank denied any wrongdoing.

Former Tory treasurer David Rowland (pictured) wired the money to a London bank account held by the Duke of York in December 2017, it is claimed

Former Tory treasurer David Rowland (pictured) wired the money to a London bank account held by the Duke of York in December 2017, it is claimed

According to Bloomberg, the additional £250,000 borrowed by Prince Andrew (pictured) was earmarked for 'general working capital and living expenses'

According to Bloomberg, the additional £250,000 borrowed by Prince Andrew (pictured) was earmarked for ‘general working capital and living expenses’

Mr Baker told Bloomberg News today: ‘This demonstrates yet again that significant questions need to be asked about Prince Andrew’s business dealings…’

‘Parliament should investigate this matter with some urgency.’ 

The son of a London scrap dealer who rose to become one of the UK’s wealthiest men: Who is David Rowland? 

According to the Sunday Times Rich List, in 2019 David Rowland (pictured) was worth over £650million. His family set up Banque Hallivand in 2009

According to the Sunday Times Rich List, in 2019 David Rowland (pictured) was worth over £650million. His family set up Banque Hallivand in 2009

The son of a scrap metal from South London, who left school without a single qualification, Mr Rowland is one of the UK’s richest men. 

The property developer made his first million and he floated his company, Fordham, on the Stock Exchange at 23.

At the time he was nicknamed ‘Spotty’ because of his relative youth and lingering acne – and the nickname stuck.

His business activities frequently kept him in the headlines.

He was one of the first financiers to spot the potential money-making value of top soccer clubs, and was the secret figure behind the £800,000 takeover of Edinburgh Hibernian, parent company of Hibs football club in the Scottish capital, in 1987. 

But the deal turned sour when the company went into receivership – after having asked thousands of fans to plough their money into the club.

In addition, he used one of his trusts to buy the upmarket estate agents Chesterton, which later also went into receivership after 200 years of trading.

According to the Sunday Times Rich List, in 2019 he was worth over £650million. His family set up Banque Hallivand in 2009. 

A father-of-eight, he lives at Hallivand Hall on the ‘tax haven’ island of Guernsey. 

In 2005 he invited Prince Andrew to the estate to open a life-size bronze statue of Rowland smoking a cigar.

By the time he was 23, he had made his first million and he floated his company, Fordham, on the Stock Exchange a year later (Pictured: Mr Rowland at 26)

By the time he was 23, he had made his first million and he floated his company, Fordham, on the Stock Exchange a year later (Pictured: Mr Rowland at 26)

Having built a huge business empire, Mr Rowland was a tax exile for more than 30 years but returned to the UK before the 2010 General Election so he could pump £2.7 million into the Tories’ campaign war chest. 

He ran to become Tory party treasurer later that year, but quit before taking up the post. The move had been heavily criticised before because of his previous status as a tax exile.

Last year he came in for more criticism when it was reported, by the Daily Mail, that he flown to North Korea in a bid to become Kim Jong Un’s private banker.

The Mail on Sunday reported that the businessman held talks with North Korean leaders in the capital Pyongyang about managing the personal fortunes of the rogue state’s ruling family and helping the Communist regime set up companies abroad. 

Earlier this year he was named as being involved in an alleged global plot to ruin the oil-rich state of Qatar.

Earlier this year it was said by a judge how Mr Rowland would not voluntarily allow access to email accounts that it is claimed could shed light on his bank’s alleged role in a conspiracy by some of the UK’s closest international allies to undermine the Gulf state by manipulating financial markets.

Qatar is suing the former Conservative treasurer’s Luxembourg bank, Banque Havilland, which was formally opened by the Duke of York. The bank strongly denies involvement in any plot.

David McClure, who wrote a book about the royal family’s finances, said: ‘The report in some ways raises more questions than it answers and the question it raises is what does he need the money for? 

‘£1.5m is a lot of money, so was this prompted by any specific need for capital expenditure?’ 

He added: ‘Prince Andrew’s finances are shrouded in a fog of pea soup impenetrability.

‘And no one really knows how he can live such an affluent lifestyle with no discernible earned income so maybe loans such as this give a clue as to where the money comes from.

He does live at Royal Lodge, it is enormous and must cost a lot to run. He does have nice cars. 

‘I always presumed the Queen was bankrolling him. Maybe she will. It might hint at the solution to the mysteries.’ 

According to Bloomberg, Mr Rowland wired the money to Prince Andrew’s account 11 days after he loaned it from the Rowland family-owned Banque Havilland.

It was said to be a replacement for a previous £1.25million loan from Banque Havilland and is said to have been extended or increased 10 times since 2015.  

According to Bloomberg, the additional £250,000 borrowed by Prince Andrew was earmarked for ‘general working capital and living expenses’.

The money was reportedly transferred to the prince from The Albany Reserves, a Guernsey-registered company controlled by the Rowland family. 

Mr Rowland, who has donated more than £6million to the Conservative party, is listed as a director of Albany Reserves, according to company filings.  

According to the Bloomberg report, the increase in the unsecured loan was ‘not in line with the risk appetite of the bank’, but it was noted that it opened up ‘further business potential with the Royal Family’.

A spokesperson for The Duke of York told MailOnline: ‘The Duke is entitled to a degree of privacy in conducting his entirely legitimate personal financial affairs, on which all appropriate accounting measures are undertaken and all taxes duly paid.’ 

A spokesperson for Banque Havilland told MailOnline: ‘Due to relevant laws and regulations the bank cannot comment on alleged clients or transactions. 

‘Like all financial institutions, we are subject to routine inspections and audits and provide all necessary disclosures.

‘Compliance with legal and regulatory requirements are the foremost priority of the bank. Any inference of wrongdoing is categorically denied.’

MailOnline has attempted to reach Mr Rowland through one of his firms and through the Conservative Party for comment. 

Questions have previously been raised about how Prince Andrew, the Queen’s second-born son, has been able to afford his lavish lifestyle on what some may describe as a relatively modest income.

Once dubbed ‘Air Miles Andy’ because of his regular trips abroad, Prince Andrew, 61, is said to have a £270,000-a-year income from publicly available sources.

This includes a £249,000-a-year annual stipend from the Queen, which is topped up with £20,000 from his naval pension.

Despite that, he bought a £13million seven-bedroom ski chalet in the sought-after Swiss resort of Verbier in 2014. 

Reports in the Mail on Sunday last year suggested the royal may have to sell the property, jointly owned with his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, to repay part of a reported £6.7million debt. The Sunday Times reported in September that Prince Andrew was close to selling the property.

The Sunday Times also said an agreement had been reached with the property’s former owner, French socialite Isabelle de Rouvre, to repay the debt.

In 2014, alongside the Verbier chalet, Prince Andrew also splashed out £7.5million to refurbish Royal Lodge, his 30-room home in Windsor Great Park.

One acquaintance reportedly told the Sun in 2019: ‘I would compare Andrew to a hot air balloon. 

‘He seems to float serenely around in very rarefied circles without any visible means of support.’

Prince Andrew was appointed the UK’s Special Representative for International Trade and Investment in 2001 after retiring from the Royal Navy. 

But he quit in 2011 amid strong criticism over his friendship with paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein.

At that point, Epstein had been convicted of sexual offences, but the wider claims of sex trafficking, which would later result in him being arrested, had yet to come to light.

Prince Andrew stepped back from frontline royal duties in 2019 after those further allegations came to light. Epstein died in his prison cell while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

The royal has since become embroiled in his own sex claims, with Esptein accuser Virginia Guiffre, who now uses her married name Virginia Roberts, claiming she had sex with the Prince while being trafficked by Epstein and his girlfriend, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.

Ms Roberts is currently suing the prince in a US civil case. Prince Andrew strenuously denies the claims and is planning to fight the lawsuit. 

Ms Maxwell, 59, is currently awaiting a trial on sex trafficking charges. The selection of jury members for the six-week trial was due to begin yesterday. 

The latest report by Bloomberg is not the first time Mr Rowland’s relationship with Prince Andrew has been in the spotlight.

Bombshell emails seen by the Daily Mail in 2019 suggest that, while on official trade missions meant to promote UK business, Prince Andrew may also have been plugging a private Luxembourg-based bank for the super-rich, owned by Mr Rowland and his family.

Day at the races: David Rowland and Prince Andrew at Royal Ascot in 2006

Day at the races: David Rowland and Prince Andrew at Royal Ascot in 2006

The seven-bedroom lodge (pictured above), jointly owned with Prince Andrew's ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, went on sale for £18.3 million earlier this year

The seven-bedroom lodge (pictured above), jointly owned with Prince Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, went on sale for £18.3 million earlier this year

Smiling Prince Andrew breaks cover as jury selection begins for sex trafficking trial

Prince Andrew was seen breaking cover yesterday, on the day jury selection began in the US sex trafficking trial of his former friend Ghislaine Maxwell.

Prince Andrew is seen driving near Windsor Castle in Berkshire. Later today jury selection is due to start in the trial of Maxwell

Prince Andrew is seen driving near Windsor Castle in Berkshire. Later today jury selection is due to start in the trial of Maxwell

The Duke of York, 61, was pictured while driving around the royal grounds at Windsor, where he was also spotted horse riding.

The images came as the process of jury selection began in the US trial of his former friend, Ms Maxwell.

The 59-year-old socialite faces a six-week trial over claims she was involved in sex trafficking along with her former boyfriend, the late Jeffrey Epstein. 

The Prince was said to have allowed the Rowlands to shoehorn meetings into his official trade tours so they could expand their bank and woo powerful and wealthy clients.   

At the time, commenting on the claims, the Palace said in a 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 interests of individuals.’

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

The son of a scrap metal from South London, who left school without a single qualification, Mr Rowland is one of the UK’s richest men. 

The property developer made his first million and he floated his company, Fordham, on the Stock Exchange at 23.

At the time he was nicknamed ‘Spotty’ because of his relative youth and lingering acne – and the nickname stuck.

His business activities frequently kept him in the headlines.

He was one of the first financiers to spot the potential money-making value of top soccer clubs, and was the secret figure behind the £800,000 takeover of Edinburgh Hibernian, parent company of Hibs football club in the Scottish capital, in 1987. 

But the deal turned sour when the company went into receivership – after having asked thousands of fans to plough their money into the club.

In addition, he used one of his trusts to buy the upmarket estate agents Chesterton, which later also went into receivership after 200 years of trading.

According to the Sunday Times Rich List, in 2019 he was worth over £650million. His family set up Banque Hallivand in 2009. 

A father-of-eight, he lives at Hallivand Hall on the ‘tax haven’ island of Guernsey. In 2005 he invited Prince Andrew to the estate to open a life-size bronze statue of Mr Rowland smoking a cigar.

Having built a huge business empire, Mr Rowland was a tax exile for more than 30 years but returned to the UK before the 2010 General Election so he could pump £2.7 million into the Tories’ campaign war chest. 

He ran to become Tory party treasurer later that year, but quit before taking up the post. The move had been heavily criticised before because of his previous status as a tax exile.

Ms Maxwell, 59, is currently awaiting a trial on sex trafficking charges. The selection of jury members for the six-week trial was due to begin yesterday. Pictured: A court sketch from yesterday's hearing

Ms Maxwell, 59, is currently awaiting a trial on sex trafficking charges. The selection of jury members for the six-week trial was due to begin yesterday. Pictured: A court sketch from yesterday’s hearing

Prince Andrew stepped back from frontline royal duties in 2019 after those further allegations came to light. Epstein (pictured) died in his prison sell while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges

Prince Andrew stepped back from frontline royal duties in 2019 after those further allegations came to light. Epstein (pictured) died in his prison sell while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges

Earlier this year he was named as being involved in an alleged global plot to ruin the oil-rich state of Qatar.

Earlier this year it was said by a judge how Mr Rowland would not voluntarily allow access to email accounts that it is claimed could shed light on his bank’s alleged role in a conspiracy by some of the UK’s closest international allies to undermine the Gulf state by manipulating financial markets.

Qatar is suing the former Conservative treasurer’s Luxembourg bank, Banque Havilland, which was formally opened by the Duke of York. The bank strongly denies involvement in any plot.

Jonathan Rowland, 44, the second of David’s eight children from two marriages, inherited his father’s entrepreneurial flair.

He left school at 16 but seized the opportunity of the dotcom boom of the late 1990s to make £42 million from an internet investment company called JellyWorks. At one point its shares rose 2,000 per cent in a few days.

He tried to repeat the success in 2011 with JellyBook. He launched the investment firm at that year’s Monaco Grand Prix, chartering a 161ft yacht with Italian marble floors to schmooze clients.

The business later had to be wound down after Jonathan suffered a stroke in 2013.



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