TIMES.KY

Cayman Islands, Caribbeanand International News
Tuesday, Feb 27, 2024

New questions raised over Prince Andrew’s award to Selman Turk

New questions raised over Prince Andrew’s award to Selman Turk

Exclusive: Concerns were aired over Pitch@Palace contest win for banker linked to over £1m of payments to Duke of York
Fresh questions have been raised over Prince Andrew’s Dragons’ Den-style scheme after it emerged that concerns were raised over a contest winner who since been linked to more than £1m of payments received by the royal.

Selman Turk, a Turkish businessman, received an award in November 2019 from the Duke of York at a Pitch@Palace event during which 40 entrepreneurs gave rapid-fire pitches in a room full of potential investors.

Turk won the “People’s Choice” award for his business Heyman AI, a digital bank aimed at millennials, which later went bust. His victory was decided by a public vote online and an audience vote on the night.

The Guardian has learned that the day after the event, concerns were raised with Amanda Thirsk, then a senior member of the royal household, who said she would look into suggestions that entrepreneurs could game the system.

In an exchange with Thirsk, seen by this newspaper, she was told Heyman AI’s win “did not feel right or make sense”, adding “it would be [a] shame if people were gaming the system”.

Thirsk replied: “I also think your point is right that a campaign to ‘game’ the position is not quite in keeping … we will certainly look at this again for next time.”

A number of participants have told the Guardian they found Turk’s Pitch@Palace win unusual as he “won it by miles” and his pitch was “crap”, with some suspecting he may have used bots – autonomous internet programs – to boost his vote. In his live pitch, available to watch online, Turk forgets his words and before he can finish, he is cut off by the trumpets of the duke’s grenadiers.

Turk, Pitch@Palace representatives and Thirsk have been approached for comment.

It has since been alleged in court documents that Turk instructed a Turkish millionaire, 77-year-old Nebahat Isbilen, to pay Andrew £750,000 nine days after the Pitch@Palace event, and the duke is also said to have received payments of up to £350,000 from a company linked to Turk.

Details of the payments, which the duke has declined to comment on, emerged last week for the first time in a case Isbilen launched against Turk in the high court, alleging he defrauded her to the tune of £40m. Turk denies the allegations.

Since the legal proceedings against Turk emerged, it has been reported that the businessman first met Andrew between May and June 2019 at Windsor Castle – about six months before the Pitch@Palace event.

A source familiar with the event said they believed Turk received as many as 10,000 votes, whereas some other participants polled closer to the hundreds. One of the 2019 participants told the Guardian: “There was a group of us on the day that felt the People’s Choice award hadn’t felt right during that competition.

“Because their pitch was crap … Their whole concept was bizarre in that they were pitching for something when they didn’t have a licence. There was a group of us who felt it didn’t [seem] right that they had won the People’s Choice because they won it by miles.

“A few of us made the assumption, rightly or wrongly, that we thought … bots [must have been used] to do this because the way the awards worked was you were actively told to go on your network and get people to vote for you.”

Another 2019 participant told the Guardian: “Our initial surprise at Heyman AI winning that particular award makes more sense now.

“We watched all the pitches and Heyman AI didn’t stand out. Further, there seemed to be some more impactful companies that the typical member of the public would be drawn to, that is, those actually helping people as opposed to a new banking app.

“I think our thoughts were that they had mobilised more friends and family/social media followers. It was very much an innocent ‘I wonder how they did that?’ as opposed to assuming anything malevolent. We weren’t expecting to win, but at least we thought it was set up as a fair contest.”

It was reported that Turk met Andrew in London on at least two occasions after the Pitch@Palace event, including at a dinner with potential investors at Turk’s apartment in South Kensington on 5 December 2019, and in February 2020 at Frogmore House, the royal residence in Windsor Great Park.

Turk has admitted in his defence statement, provided to the court and seen by the Guardian, that he held meetings with Andrew at his flat in September 2019 – two months before the Pitch@Palace event. But he claims he did not instruct Isbilen to pay Andrew £750,000 and she did so on her own initiative.

Lawyers for Isbilen have been asked to confirm whether or not it is her case that she knew Andrew.
Newsletter

Related Articles

TIMES.KY
0:00
0:00
Close
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Italian Court's Controversial Ruling on Sexual Harassment Ignites Uproar
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
BBC Personalities Rebuke Accusations Amidst Scandal Involving Teen Exploitation
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
Unilever Plummets in a $2.5 Billion Free Fall, to begin with: A Reckoning for Misuse of Corporate Power Against National Interest
Beyond the Blame Game: The Need for Nuanced Perspectives on America's Complex Reality
Twitter Targets Meta: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Copycat Culture
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner
×