Disgraced royal Prince Andrew - who was put in a very long time-out by the Queen following a disastrous interview regarding his relationship with pedophile Jeffrey Epstein - served as an 'unofficial door-opener' for international bankers who specialized in serving clients of ill repute, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, which has reviewed 'a trove of emails, internal documents, and previously unreported regulatory filings."
"But Epstein is only the most infamous wealthy financier the prince has had dealings with. There’s another one the public knows less about. For years, Andrew acted as an unofficial door opener for David Rowland and his private bank in Luxembourg, Banque Havilland SA," according to the report, which adds that Prince Andrew's "royal cachet and his role as the U.K.’s special representative for international trade and investment until 2011 helped the Rowland family pitch their services to potential clients from the ranks of the world’s dictators and kleptocrats."
In 2011, after the Daily Mail published a photograph of Philip with his arm around an underage girl - who has since accused him of rape - Banque Havilland CEO Jonathan (son of founder David) emailed Andrew about scrapping a planned trip to Africa, telling him to "Disappear for a while."
For his 'Royal' hookup, Andrew was able to live beyond his reported $320,000 per year stipend - including using the Rowlands' 45 million jet and benefiting from a private bank account at Banque Havilland under the pseudonym Andrew Inverness. The Rowlands, meanwhile, benefited from Andrew's status.
David Rowland bought Banque Havilland out of the ashes of Iceland's failed Kaupthing Bank - renaming it after Havilland Hall, the family's estate on Guernsey - a Channel Islands tax haven popular for those with offshore accounts.
Havilland employs an "unusually bold business model," according to Bloomberg.
Most banks have become increasingly selective about their clients to avoid running afoul of anti-money-laundering rules. Governments on both sides of the Atlantic require them to vet the sources of their clients’ wealth, monitor their transactions, and report any suspicious activity—with more stringent checks for those who hold prominent public positions. But the picture of Banque Havilland that emerges from the documents and interviews is of a bank willing to work with people most other financial institutions would shun. -Bloomberg
One such 'unsavory' client was Kolawole Aluko - a Nigerian energy magnate who received a $30 million loan while he was under fire over allegations of bribery in the country's oil industry. Another individual, Joshua Kulei - former personal assistant to ex-Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi - received a $2.9 million mortgage despite being banned from the US over allegations of graft which he has denied.
The Rowlands also made a $5 million loan to the heirs of deceased Georgian businessman Arkady Patarkatsishvili, which was routed "through one of their accounts at the bank, over objections from a senior compliance officer who described Patarkatsishvili, in emails to Jonathan Rowland and other bank executives in 2010, as an alleged criminal and his money as tainted."
The report is careful to note that Prince Andrew isn't connected to any of the above clients, nor is it known whether the Rowlands mentioned his affiliation while procuring and dealing with them. The bank claims that none of its current or former clients had been 'introduced or referred by Prince Andrew,' that it never employed him, and that he was never "a paid advisor or ambassador."
That said, Bloomberg describes the 75-year-old Rowland and Andrew, 60, as "an odd pair."
David Rowland is 75, the son of a London scrap-metal dealer. He dropped out of school at 16. Short and barrel-chested, with a near-permanent scowl, he peppers his speech with expletives. He’s said he made his first million pounds in his 20s, buying and selling real estate. He moved on to shipping, timber, and chemicals, eventually setting up a company called Blackfish Capital Management, which he claimed managed $1 billion of his own money and that of his friends.
Through Blackfish and other entities, Rowland made loans to clients who might have had trouble borrowing from big banks. He sometimes charged annual interest of more than 10% and demanded collateral two or three times the value of the underlying loan, according to people with knowledge of Blackfish’s business. He parlayed his financial success into political capital, contributing more than £4 million to Britain’s Conservative Party in the two years after buying Banque Havilland, making him one of its biggest donors. David Cameron, prime minister at the time, named Rowland the party’s treasurer, its chief fundraising position, but he resigned before assuming the post when articles came out about his business dealings and offshore tax status. -Bloomberg
Andrew, meanwhile, comes 'from the other side of the realm' from Rowland.
born in Buckingham Palace, baptized by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and raised by a governess. He stood little chance of ascending to the throne; he also didn’t have much appetite for school. After joining the Royal Navy at 19, Andrew served as a helicopter pilot during the 1982 Falklands War.
He had a roguish side, too. He liked to party and had a string of girlfriends. A whiff of scandal accompanied him. In 2007 he sold a home his mother had given him to a Kazakh businessman for £3 million above the asking price. More recently he’s been embroiled in a dispute with the former owner of his Swiss chalet over an unpaid portion of the purchase price. His friendships, including with a son of former Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi, have been a source of annoyance for Britain’s diplomats and politicians.
Andrew and Roland go back to at least 2005, when he was invited to the unveiling of a giant statue of Rowland at the financier's estate. Over the years, the two have attended each other's parties and met for private dinners. Andrew introduced Rowland to the queen - taking him to tea with his brother at the queen's Scottish estate, the Daily Mail has reported. The Rowlands were fixtures at Andrew's country house, while Andrew would visit the Rowlands at Havilland Hall.
Read the rest of the report here.