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Prince Andrew branded a ‘fool’ as sale of £18m chalet is frozen so debtors can claim £1.6m he owes

Prince Andrew has been branded an ‘absolute fool’ by the French socialite who sued him over a ski chalet debt after it emerged he has yet more money troubles.

A freezing order has been placed on the Duke of York’s controversial £18million retreat in the Swiss resort of Verbier which is in the process of being sold – reportedly to help him pay off sex abuse victim Virginia Roberts.

The legal move will guarantee that a Swiss couple, with whom the duke struck up a business arrangement, will receive the reported £1.6million owed to them by the Queen’s second son, sources said.

A freezing order has been placed on the Duke of York’s controversial £18 million retreat in the Swiss resort of Verbier which is in the process of being sold – reportedly to help him pay off sex abuse victim Virginia Roberts. Pictured: The Duke of York staying at Verbier

The disgraced royal had previously owed Isabelle de Rouvre more than £6million for the chalet until last year.

Miss de Rouvre said she pities the couple, whose identity is being kept secret, knowing the stress she experienced trying to recoup the money owed to her after she sold Chalet Helora in Verbier to Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson in 2014.

She said: ‘It was a horrible experience. I do not understand how he operates and I feel very sorry for people who are involved with him in business.’

Sources close to the duke insist the freezing order is not holding up the chalet’s sale.

French Socialite Isabelle de Rouvre (pictured) branded the prince ‘an absolute fool’ as it’s emerged he has more money troubles. The Duke of York had previously owed Isabelle de Rouvre more than £6 million in chalet debt until last year

Sources confirmed that removal vans from the UK were at the Verbier property this week and were removing items on behalf of the duke. The chalet was frozen by Swiss authorities in December 2020

Sources confirmed that removal vans from the UK were at the Verbier property this week and were removing items on behalf of the duke. The chalet was frozen by Swiss authorities in December 2020

Removal vans from a UK firm given a Royal Warrant by the Queen in 1981 were spotted at the property this week. Sources confirmed they were removing items on behalf of the duke.

A buyer was believed to have been found some months ago but the process reportedly stalled because the chalet is ‘under sequestration’ as a result of the new debt. 

The chalet was frozen as an asset by Swiss authorities on December 15, 2020, according to Le Temps newspaper.

L’Office Des Poursuites, the debt collection authority, refused to comment last night. 

It is the latest controversy to emerge surrounding the beleaguered prince and his ties to Verbier.

The long-running battle with the chalet’s previous owner, Miss de Rouvre, over the £6.6million debt was only resolved last year.

She said: ‘It’s really rather unbelievable. He caused me such stress and now it’s claimed other people are owed money too.

‘They [Andrew and Sarah] are so crazy. He [Andrew] is an absolute fool and I just cannot understand how he goes about his life.’

Miss de Rouvre had been forced into a legal battle two years ago to recoup the vast sum.

She had sold Chalet Helora to her then-friends Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson in 2014 for £18million. But they failed to pay a cash amount of £5million. 

She agreed it could be deferred until December 2019, with interest accruing, but later accused the pair of failing to honour the agreement.

A source close to the Duke of York said of the £1.6million debt: ‘Talks are under way to resolve the matter, which are expected to be concluded satisfactorily for all parties, but it in no way prevents the sale of the chalet.’

Pictured: Virginia Roberts with Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell in early 2021. It's believed the sale of the controversial Swiss retreat would have helped the duke pay off Miss Roberts

Pictured: Virginia Roberts with Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell in early 2021. It’s believed the sale of the controversial Swiss retreat would have helped the duke pay off Miss Roberts

Earlier this year, Andrew agreed to pay Miss Roberts, a victim of paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, up to £12million to settle her legal claims. 

She sued the prince in New York under her married name Giuffre, claiming she was forced by Epstein to sleep with Andrew three times when she was 17. He has always denied the allegations.

In April, the Daily Mail revealed how Andrew was embroiled in a legal riddle over a £750,000 payment from a Turkish millionairess.

Nebahat Isbilen, 77, who claims to have been scammed out of fortune by a dishonest businessman, was allegedly tricked into giving the Duke of York money ‘by way of payment for assistance’ with her passport, a court heard. 

The prince has since repaid the cash after she alleged it was a scam.

Details of the extraordinary case emerged at the High Court in London and this newspaper also revealed that Buckingham Palace told bankers a mysterious £750,000 gift to Andrew was for his daughter Princess Beatrice’s wedding.

The Duchess of York and Princess Eugenie have also been named in the High Court as having received large amounts of cash.

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