The British royal now stripped of his role is once again making headlines. Prince Andrew, along with his ex-wife Sarah ‘Fergie’ Ferguson, has been named in a High Court ruling involving an alleged Turkish fraudster and a £750,000 (around $828,570) payment. Although there isn’t enough proof, the plaintiff, Nebahat Isbilen, claims she was duped into giving the Duke of York money “by way of payment for assistance” with her passport. The Duke and Fergie have reportedly received “substantial sums” from this endeavor. Andrew denies the claim, but once a legal suit was filed, he returned the money to Isbilen.
Isbilen’s husband, Ilhan Isbilen, is currently serving a life sentence in Ankara’s Sincan Prison, accused of being the mastermind of the 2016 coup against Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A former MP in the AK Party, Mr. Isbilen was charged with terrorism for the Gulen Movement which resulted in the deaths of 251 people.
Mrs. Isbilen wanted to move to Britain because of the politically charged atmosphere around her husband’s imprisonment. According to court records, she needed help securing and moving her fortune of about $87 million from Turkey to Britain where she was relocating to keep her money from being taken by her husband’s enemies. She entrusted her finances to Turkish businessman and former banker, Selman Turk. However, the High Court was told that Turk “dishonestly misappropriated” around $50 million of her fortune.
Andrew and Fergie’s Reported Involvement
According to Isbilen’s affidavit, she accused Turk of advising her to give a gift to the prince of £750,000, which she was led to believe was to help with her passport. The amount was transferred on Nov. 15, 2019, from her bank account. Her legal team said, “The representation that Mrs Isbilen needed to make a gift to the Duke of York in connection with her passport [or for any other purpose] was false.”
Mrs. Isbilen further stated there was an email from Turk to her bank that said the money was a payment for a “wedding gift” for Andrew’s daughter, Beatrice, and not for the passport assistance she had been told was the purpose of the payment. Just a week before Isbilen’s payment went to the duke, Turk’s firm won an award at the Pitch at the Palace business initiative, which is headed by Andrew.
A court order granted a search into Turk’s financials which showed more of Isbilen’s money was being sent to the duke and duchess via another company, Alphabet Capital. Court documents revealed that about £900,000 was paid in two payments to the business. Isbilen’s legal team, Peters and Peters, said Alphabet Capital then made payments to Andrew and the duchess of £350,000. “I did not know about or authorize either of these payments,” Isbilen stated. Turk reportedly claimed these expenditures as failed investments and professional costs, according to court documents.
Isbilen’s lawyer, Jonathan Tickner, said she was “the victim of serious fraud and financial wrongdoing.” A spokesman for Fergie claimed, “The duchess was completely unaware of the allegations that have since emerged against Mr Turk. She is naturally concerned by what has been alleged against him.” Turk is disputing the allegations and Andrew has yet to publicly respond, other than repaying Isbilen the money he received.
A History of Payoffs
This isn’t the first time the Duke of York has paid off someone who has made allegations against him. In February, he settled a case brought about by Virginia Giuffre who alleged Andrew had sexually abused her more than two decades ago when she was a minor.
The “Playboy Prince” has had his fair share of the media spotlight, mostly for his love of women and parties. When young, he was even called “Randy Andy” due to the number of women with whom he was constantly in public. Later, he earned the nickname “Air Miles Andy” because of his love of travel, using helicopters to go golfing and to other events. After getting a divorce from Fergie, Andrew attended a “hookers and pimps” party with Ghislaine Maxwell. This friendship would lead to the biggest scandal yet for the duke, and the surrender of his “prince” title as well as his military affiliations.
Now, the legal net has caught the former prince in another scandal involving a multi-million-dollar scam. How much more will the royal family put up with, and what other types of scams or inappropriate behavior will possibly find their way into courts in the future?