Duke of York’s daughter named in High Court litigation

Princess Beatrice has been named in an affidavit given by Nebahat Isbilen, who has sued Selman Turk, a Turkish businessman based in London.

02 April 2022

The Duke of York’s daughter Beatrice has featured in evidence given to a judge overseeing a High Court financial dispute between an elderly Turkish woman and a former banker.

Princess Beatrice has been named in an affidavit given by Nebahat Isbilen, who is in her 70s, and has sued Selman Turk, a Turkish businessman based in London.

A judge overseeing the dispute has been told that the  Duke of York was allegedly paid £750,000 for “assistance” he provided “in relation” to Mrs Isbilen’s passport.

Both the duke and his ex-wife Sarah have been named in a recent ruling on the case by deputy High Court judge David Halpern.

Mrs Isbilen had needed help moving assets out of Turkey after her husband became a political prisoner, Judge Halpern was told.

Mr Turk, a former banker, agreed to help.

Mrs Isbilen alleges he “breached fiduciary obligations he owed to her” and advanced “claims in deceit”.

Mr Turk is fighting the case, which is ongoing and has been heard in London.

A number of preliminary rulings have been published.

The judge said he was told that “substantial sums” were paid to Andrew and to Sarah, Duchess of York.

Duke named in court ruling
Both the duke and his ex-wife Sarah have been named in a recent ruling (PA)

Mrs Isbilen has also mentioned Beatrice.

She said, in her affidavit, that in November 2019 she authorised a bank transfer of £750,000 to the Duke of York.

Mrs Isbilen said  police had seized her previous passport and Mr Turk had obtained a new passport for her through connections with Turkish authorities.

“Mr Turk told me that he received help from the Duke of York to show or send the picture of my old passport to Turkey and that this service would normally be worth £2 million, but it would cost less if we made the payment by way of a gift.

“I did not understand the nature of the services received then and have also difficulty of explaining it now.

“I have seen an e-mail from Mr Turk…  explaining that this transfer was a wedding gift to Princess Beatrice owing to the close connection between our families.

“This email is entirely false.”

A document outlining Mrs Isbilen’s case said the Duke had subsequently returned the £750,000.

Judge Halpern said, in a ruling, that a lawyer representing Mrs Isbilen told him in an affidavit that information had emerged to show evidence given by Mr Turk was “misleading”.

He said solicitor Jonathan Tickner told him evidence showed “money was used for purposes unconnected with Mrs Isbilen, (for example) substantial sums were paid to Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and to Sarah, Duchess of York”.

Judge Halpern said barrister Dan McCourt Fritz, who is leading Mrs Isbilen’s legal team, told him the “total sums which his client claims were misappropriated” amount to 50 million US dollars (about £38 million).

“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.”

A statement of claim drawn up by Mrs Isbilen’s lawyers said: “In or around November 2019, Mr Turk told Mrs Isbilen that she needed to make a purported ‘gift’ of £750,000 to HRH Duke of York by way of payment for assistance that he told her HRH Duke of York had provided in relation to Mrs Isbilen’s Turkish passport.

“The representation that Mrs Isbilen needed to make a gift to HRH Duke of York in connection with her passport (or for any other purpose) was false, and Mr Turk made it dishonestly, knowing it to be false and intending Mrs Isbilen to rely on it.”

The lawyers added: “Mrs Isbilen authorised a transfer of £750,000… on 15 November 2019.”

They went on: “Mrs Isbilen has now received £750,000 from HRH Duke of York.”

Mr Tickner, head of fraud and commercial disputes at law firm Peters & Peters, told the PA news agency in a statement on Friday that Mrs Isbilen had trusted Mr Turk to help her through “extremely difficult” circumstances.

He added: “The court documents and decisions given in her case to date speak for themselves.”

A spokeswoman for the Duke said: “We are unable to comment on ongoing legal proceedings.”

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