Prince Andrew and his former wife have been named in a High Court ruling, with claims the pair received “substantial sums” of money during a legal row between an elderly woman and a businessman.
Deputy High Court judge David Halpern named the Duke and Duchess of York in a preliminary ruling on the case, a dispute between Nebahat Isbilen, a Turkish woman in her 70s, and businessman Selman Turk.
The judge was told how Ms Isbilen had needed assistance moving her assets out of Turkey after her husband was imprisoned there owing to his “political affiliations”.
Mr Turk, a Turkish businessman and former banker, had agreed to help Ms Isbilen move her assets out of reach of the Turkish authorities, the court heard.
Ms Isbilen alleged that Mr Turk “breached fiduciary obligations he owed to her” and “advances claims in deceit”.
Mr Turk is fighting the case, which has been heard at the High Court in London and is ongoing.
Judge Halpern said a lawyer representing Ms Isbilen had told him, in an affidavit, that information had emerged to show evidence given by Mr Turk was “misleading”.
The judge said solicitor Jonathan Tickner claimed that a company had received more than £1m of Ms Isbilen’s funds, and that Mr Turk had produced invoices purporting to show transfers for professional fees.
But he said Mr Tickner had told him how evidence showed that “money was used for purposes unconnected with Ms Isbilen, eg substantial sums were paid to Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and to Sarah, Duchess of York”.
Judge Halpern said barrister Dan McCourt Fritz, who represents Ms Isbilen, had told him that the “total sums which his client claims were misappropriated” amounted to some $50m (about £38m).
“Mr Turk has provided explanations for approximately two thirds of these sums, most of which have been allegedly spent on professional or other fees or lost in bad investments,” the judge added, in his ruling.
“No explanation at all has been given for the remaining one third.”
Judge Halpern added: “The evidence in Mr Tickner’s affidavit shows that there appears to be a complex web of bank accounts and transactions which relate to the ways in which Ms Isbilen’s money and assets were dealt with.”
A spokeswoman for Prince Andrew said: “We are unable to comment on ongoing legal proceedings.”
The ruling comes weeks after Andrew agreed to pay a financial settlement to Virginia Giuffre following a seven-month case in which he was accused of sexually abusing her when she was 17.
The Duke of York, who has always strongly denied any wrongdoing, has stepped down from royal duties and public life.
However this week the Duke of York’s central role escorting the Queen to the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial raised questions about his future place in the family, and at public engagement attended by other royals.
Andrew was front and center of Philip’s service, with his mother holding onto his elbow as the disgraced royal accompanied the monarch to her seat in Westminster Abbey on Tuesday.
Additional reporting by PA