Prince Andrew settles £ 6.6million debt with French social worker after buying Swiss ski chalet
Prince Andrew has settled a Â£ 6.6million debt with a French socialite paving the way for him to sell his beloved ski chalet to fund his alleged sexual abuse case.
Isabelle de Rouvre, 74, sold her home, Chalet Helora, to then friends Prince Andrew and ex-wife Sarah Ferguson in 2014 for Â£ 18million.
But they failed to pay Â£ 5million in cash for the ownership of the exclusive Swiss ski resort of Verbier.
Ms de Rouvre agreed it could be postponed until December 2019, with accrued interest, but the couple have not honored the deal despite repeated requests.
Glamorous Mme de Rouvre, saddened by the breach of trust, was forced to launch a legal battle in Swiss courts two years ago in an attempt to recover the sum owed to him by the Duke of York.
The Duke finally paid at the end of last year, and Madame de Rouvre has now declared: âThe war is over. He paid the money.
The settlement now paves the way for Andrew to sell Chalet Helora and free up the money he desperately needs to pay his growing legal bills due to allegations he sexually assaulted Virginia Roberts.
Andrew bought the seven-bedroom Helora chalet in the luxury Swiss resort of Verbier with his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson in 2014 for Â£ 16.6million
In September last year, it was reported that Andrew and the Duchess of York were set to sell the chalet to settle a legal dispute with its former owner, Isabella de Rouvre, 74.
Ms de Rouvre said: “I sold it two months ago, or was it one. Maybe six weeks ago.
âAnyway, I sold it to the Yorks and we made a deal. Fortunately, this is the end of the story.
âThe war is over. This is the end of the matter.
âI have nothing to do with it now. That’s all.
âI don’t know what they’re doing now. They were here at Christmas, but I only know because I read it in the press. I haven’t seen them. So merry Christmas and that’s it. The end.
âAbout six weeks ago, the case was closed. It was in November. It’s done. They paid the money and it was done. It’s closed for me. The war is over. He paid the money. We have a war against Covid which is bigger but it was a different war.
âThe second payment had to be paid and that payment is now made. That’s it. You can be sure that’s it. It’s done.
Prince Andrew is pictured in 2001 with his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson and their children in Verbier, Switzerland
Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts, 17, and Ghislaine Maxwell at Ghislaine Maxwell’s townhouse in London, Britain on March 13, 2001
âIf they live here, they live here. But I don’t know what they are doing.
A friend of the socialite said it had been an “extremely stressful” time for Ms. de Rouvre.
She said: âIt has been extremely stressful for Isabelle. She sold the chalet in good faith. She thought they were friends. But everything went wrong. It has been overwhelming and stressful. She shouldn’t have been drawn into all of this. It’s a relief to her that the Yorks have now paid off and that she can sever ties.
The debt clearance means Andrew is now free to go ahead with plans to sell the property.
The Duke must find the funds to pay his team of American lawyers as they battle Ms Roberts’ claims.
Ms Roberts, who now uses her married name Giuffre, claims the prince had sex with her three times after being trafficked by pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Prince Andrew has always denied the allegations.
The cession of the chalet will leave it without property in the UK or overseas.
Fergie and the couple’s daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, were seen frolicking around Verbier just after Christmas, enjoying a ski vacation – possibly their last at Chalet Helora.
The chalet, which has seven bedrooms and an indoor swimming pool, holds special memories for the royal family.
Prince Andrew walks through Central Park in New York with Jeffrey Epstein after the latter’s 2011 jail term
Ghislaine Maxwell gives Jeffrey Epstein a foot massage aboard his private jet nicknamed the “Lolita Express”. The photo was entered into evidence in the Maxwell case on Dec. 7 by the US attorney’s office
As a family, the Yorks rented the Helora chalet from Mme de Rouvre for the winter holidays before deciding to buy it in 2014 as a nest egg for their daughters.
Andrew and Fergie jointly bought the property for around Â£ 18million.
They are said to have taken out a Â£ 13million mortgage with the remaining Â£ 5million to be paid in cash.
When this sum remained unpaid, the Yorks reportedly made an agreement with the socialite to defer payment until December 2019.
The pair were then to pay Â£ 6.6million, including the initial sum plus interest.
But despite repeated requests, the debt remained unpaid.
In May 2020, Mme de Rouvre was forced to sue the Duke. A long legal battle ensued.
Until the debt that hung over the cottage was paid, he was powerless to sell. It is believed that he has now found a buyer and the sale is in the process of being finalized.
Fergie and the Princesses were pictured at the resort last week with their families.
A neighbor said: âMaybe this was their last vacation here. To be fair, the neighborhood won’t be too sorry to see the backs of them. Once they arrive, all the paparazzi from Italy, France, Switzerland, etc.
âThese are nuisances that block the roads and we often have to ask them to turn off their engines. They sit there with vapors going everywhere and polluting our beautiful mountain air.
âPlus, everything is pretty shabby with Andrew Bieng caught up in this sexual abuse scandal. This is not the image we want in Verbier.