New information revealed that Prince Andrew made a secret deal to use the 40-million-pound luxury jet of a tax haven tycoon. This has led to intense scrutiny of the tax haven tycoon in question and his opaque finances.
The information was revealed in a leaked email. According to that email, David Rowland let Prince Andrew use his 14-seat luxury plane for some of his official engagements overseas. This came about following Prince Andrew becoming “frustrated” with the RAF-provided aircraft, which were aging. These airplanes were decades old, and the government was not replacing them. As a frame of reference, Rowland allows people to hire this plane for as much as 7,600 British pounds an hour.
Within the past two years, Prince Andrew flew on this Global Express a minimum of five times as part of attending to Royal duties. Some of those Royal duties were combined with promotion for Rowland’s business ventures or Prince Andrew’s own Pitch@Palace project.
According to the email, Prince Andrew did look for assurances that there would be tight security for the aircraft while it was grounded in Hampshire’s Farnborough airport. This was due to its planned use for the Royal Family.
Flight records for the airplane line up perfectly with the flight times of trips Prince Andrew has taken over the years, further confirming that he regularly used the airplane for international travel.
What the Royals Say
The Royal family and Buckingham Palace did not indicate which members of the Royal family used the jet. They also refuse to show how it was funded, saying that it was “private” and that taxpayers did not pay for the flights. Buckingham Palace specifically stated that the Sovereign Grant is used to fund official travel overseas that the Royal Family completes, but that this Sovereign Grant did not pay for the use of Rowlands plane.
It seems unlikely that Prince Andrew directly paid to rent the airplane, given that he has a limited official income. He receives 20,000 pounds annually as part of his Navy pension in addition to 249,000 pounds, which the Queen privately pays him for the running of his official office.
Previous Connections Between the Two
This is not the first connection between Rowland and Prince Andrew, as the two are also connected by tax haven transactions. The Duke previously opened two banks that Rowland owned in tax havens. One in September 2009 in Luxembourg and another in 2012 in Monaco.
The Questions Raised
In addition to the connections related to tax havens and the increased scrutiny of the opaque finances of Rowland and Prince Andrew, there are concerns as to whether Prince Andrew now owes Rowland a favor. This is particularly relevant given that Prince Andrew has promoted the Luxembourg-based bank that Rowlands owns while he was traveling on trade envoy missions. It also appears that Prince Andrew let Rowlands fit meetings into his travel, allowing him to attract wealthy clients and expand his bank.
Tax Haven Issues Also Abound
There are additional concerns regarding tax havens and Prince Andrew’s assistance to Rowlands in supporting them. After all, Rowland was a tax exile for over 30 years, and he helped pay Sarah Ferguson’s debts off. He had to quit serving as the treasurer of the Tory Party in 2010 due to controversy regarding his business.
Additionally, the banks owned by Rowlands and promoted by Prince Andrew are located in tax havens. As such, they encourage Rowlands and other wealthy individuals to place their assets in tax havens instead of paying taxes to the British government. Concerned parties worry that not only may Prince Andrew now be indebted to Rowlands, but he may also be encouraging wealthy British residents to hide their money in tax havens via his promotion of Rowlands’ banks.
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