The Duke of York has settled a £6.6m debt with a French socialite, allowing him to sell a Swiss chalet as he faces rising legal bills over the US sexual assault civil lawsuit brought by Virginia Giuffre.
Isabelle de Rouvre, 74, sold the property to Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York back in 2014 for a reported £18m. Andrew and his ex-wide agreed with the vendor that the chalet in the Swiss Alps would be paid for in instalments. Rouvre claims that the two failed to make the final £5m instalment. Initially, she agreed to defer the payment until December 2019, with accruing interest. Reports claim the Yorks did not honour the agreement despite repeated demands.
May 2020, legal action was launched in Switzerland in an effort to reclaim the £5m plus interest owed to Rouvre. Andrew is said to have finally paid the fee off late last year. Speaking to MailOnline earlier this year, Rouvre said: “That is the end of the story thankfully. The war is finished. It is the end of the matter. I have nothing to do with it now. That’s all.
“It was about six weeks ago that the matter was closed. It was November. The second payment needed to be paid and that payment is now done. That’s it. You can be sure that’s it. It’s done.”
In response, a source close to Andrew said: “I can confirm that the legal action has been halted and that the chalet is being sold – but otherwise no comment on private financial matters.”
The Duchess and the couple’s daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie stayed at the chalet over the New Year holiday. The seven-bedroomed chalet, with an indoor swimming pool, was originally rented as a nest egg for their daughters on winter holidays.
Andrew is now reportedly selling the property as he faces the lawsuit brought against him by Giuffre who claims there were forced sexual interactions on multiple occasions as she was trafficked by late-financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Prince Andrew has always strenuously denied the allegations.