Cayman Islands, Caribbeanand International News
Sunday, Dec 03, 2023

Prince Andrew, the banker … and a mystery £750,000 ‘wedding gift’

Prince Andrew, the banker … and a mystery £750,000 ‘wedding gift’

Entrepreneur Selman Turk is being sued by a Turkish millionairess, in a case involving a payment to the Duke of York.
When the Turkish entrepreneur Selman Turk launched a new digital bank three years ago, he was entering a crowded market of online start-ups hoping to grab business from the traditional banks.

It seemed there was little to distinguish the new London-based venture, Heyman AI, from a host of other contenders. It had a rudimentary website, meagre funding compared to some of its digital rivals and no banking licence. “We are building a good bank for good people,” said its website. A footnote added that it was “in the application process” to become a bank in the UK.

But just seven months after the new venture was launched, a besuited Turk was on stage with the Duke of York at St James’s Palace collecting a people’s choice award in the prestigious Pitch@Palace event. The competition on 6 November 2019 was Prince Andrew’s version of the BBC show Dragons’ Den, but with a priceless royal cachet. It was a spectacular coup for former Goldman Sachs banker Turk and his fledgling bank, but did not secure the future of the firm, which was wound up in September last year.

It emerged last week that Turk, 35, is being sued by a Turkish millionairess, Nebahat Evyap Isbilen, 77, who claims she was defrauded by him. She is seeking the return of about £38m. He disputes the allegations.

Turk helped manage Isbilen’s financial affairs, and the court documents claim Turk instigated a payment of £750,000 to be made to Prince Andrew, just nine days after he picked up the award at St James’s Palace.

The money, from Isbilen’s private bank account, has since been repaid, but raises new questions for Prince Andrew: were he and his advisers aware the payment was linked to Turk, and what was the money for? Prince Andrew is not central to the complex high court proceedings and is not accused of any wrongdoing.

In her statements to the high court, Isbilen said she was told by Turk that the payment was a gift for Prince Andrew after it was claimed he helped arrange a replacement passport.

She also said she had seen an email from Turk to her private bank, Hampden & Co, stating the payment was a wedding gift for Princess Beatrice, who married the property tycoon Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in July 2020.

Isbilen has told the court she considered the claims concerning Prince Andrew’s purported role in arranging a passport or that the money transfer was a wedding gift were both false.

In an extraordinary transcript of a call published by the Daily Mail yesterday, Amanda Thirsk, Prince Andrew’s former private secretary and the former director of Pitch@Palace, allegedly told a banker from Hampden & Co conducting compliance checks that she believed the money was a gift. She is claimed to have said: “I understand it’s a gift for the wedding…What she [Beatrice] and her family decide to do with it is really to do with them, isn’t it?” Thirsk told the Mail she could not recollect the call, but would not have been involved in anything improper.

It has also been reported that Prince Andrew’s former wife, Sarah Ferguson, also received payments of at least £225,000 from Turk via a company called Alphabet Capital, said to be in connection with payment she was owed for her work with a solar power company. Her spokesperson has said she was completely unaware of the allegations which have now emerged.

Isbilen is a member of the Turkish family that owns the Evyap group of companies, which has a range of soap and personal care brands. Her husband, Ilhan Isbilen, is the former deputy leader of the ruling AK party, and has been a political prisoner in Turkey since 2015.

Isbilen says she gave Turk effective control of funds of $87.5m (£66.7m) and that he “dishonestly and systematically” abused the trust she placed in him. She said she had limited ability to understand English and required help to move her assets out of Turkey. She claims he dishonestly mismanaged her funds.

Pitch@Palace was founded by the Duke of York in 2014 to “amplify and accelerate the work of entrepreneurs”. The programme had aimed to help businesspeople “make connections” and secure investment.

Its future was, however, in peril at the time Turk picked up the award for his bank.

Prince Andrew had given his notorious BBC Two Newsnight interview 10 days after the awards ceremony, triggering a public backlash. Companies including KPMG, Barclays, Bosch and Standard Chartered subsequently ended their sponsorship of Pitch@Palace. Its future activities are now under review.

Prince Andrew’s spokesperson has said there will be no comment on an ongoing court case.

Related Articles

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