The question of just how Prince Andrew might be paying his legal bills, or could fund any potential settlement with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, has been a topic of much debate recently.
Now, it appears, the duke of disgrace might be on the cusp of selling his $22 million ski lodge in the Swiss resort of Verbier, having paid off a long-overdue final installment of $9.1 million to its former owner, Isabelle de Rouvre, 74.
The payment of the overdue amount means Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson are now free to sell the property.
Andrew’s spokesperson did not respond to a request for information on the source of the estimated $9 million used to pay off de Rouvre; however, it is likely he has been given a bridge loan by family or friends.
After mortgages and debt repayment, there is thought to be around $4 million of equity in the property.
De Rouvre told the Daily Mail that the transaction had finally been completed last year, saying, “The war is finished. It is the end of the matter. I have nothing to do with it now. That’s all.”
Sarah was photographed at the seven-bedroom home, which also boasts an indoor swimming pool, over Christmas, and de Rouvre said, “They were here at Christmas but I only know that because I read it in the press. I did not see them. So Happy Christmas and that’s that. The end.
“It was about six weeks ago that the matter was closed. It was November. It’s done. They paid the money and it was done. It is closed for me. The war is over. He has paid the money. We have a war against COVID, which is more important, but this was a different war.
“The second payment needed to be paid and that payment is now done.”
A friend of de Rouvre was quoted by the Daily Mail saying, “It has been hugely stressful for Isabelle. She sold the chalet in good faith. She thought they were friends. But it all went bad. It has been upsetting and stressful. She should not have been dragged into all this. It’s a relief for her that the Yorks have now paid and she can sever ties.”
If he does sell, the presence of several million dollars in Andrew’s checking account would likely be welcome news for his expensive legal team. They are battling allegations Andrew raped and abused Giuffre, who alleges she was trafficked to him by dead pedophile Jeffrey Epstein when she was 17.
The Sunday Times reported this weekend that Andrew’s legal costs have already surpassed $2.7 million, including substantial payments to British solicitor Gary Bloxsome, who is nicknamed “Good News Gary” because, a source said, “He will always focus on the upside, not the downside,” and is “continually promising the duke that this is all about to be over and that he will be able to get back to public duties soon.”
Adding to pressure on the prince are multiple reports, by outlets including the Mirror, that Prince Charles and Prince William are massively opposed to the idea of the queen funding Andrew’s legal settlement, are “absolutely furious” with him, and want him to “sort out his own mess.”
“It is crunch time for Andrew on several fronts," a source told the paper. "He is meeting all the costs himself, so he needs to raise cash fast to pay bills which are increasing by the day. If there was the potential to settle, well, that is an option, but it is in no doubt that the queen would not assist him in doing so.”