RICHARD KAY: How grateful Duke of York remains to the man who paid off £1.5 ...

RICHARD KAY: How grateful Duke of York remains to the man who paid off £1.5 ...
RICHARD KAY: How grateful Duke of York remains to the man who paid off £1.5 ...

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)

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 hisr ight

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

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.

The Banque Havilland SA headquarters in Luxembourg, which is at the centre of the affair

The Banque Havilland SA headquarters in Luxembourg, which is at the centre of the affair

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.

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 news-paper 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'

The loan was, according to Bloomberg, from Banque Havilland (pictured) itself and had been taken out 11 days earlier

The loan was, according to Bloomberg, from Banque Havilland (pictured) itself and had been taken out 11 days earlier

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.' 

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

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

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