The Emir of the State of Qatar Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, centre, reacts with British Prince Andrew, The Duke of York, left, and Deputy Prime Minister of Qatar Abdullah Bin Hamad al-Attiyah, at the inauguration ceremony of the Qatargas2, the first fully integrated value chain LNG venture at Ras Laffan City near Doha, Monday, April 6, 2009. AP
The Duke of York ordered Royal policemen to collect stray golf balls while he practised his swing at Buckingham Palace, according to court documents presented by an ex-officer whose claims were described as fantasy in court.
By Matthew Moore and Richard Edwards
The allegations about Prince Andrew emerged at the trial of a protection officer who was yesterday found guilty of a £3 million investment scam. Paul Page, 38, a trained firearms officer, is facing up to 10 years in prison after being convicted of ruining colleagues and friends in a spread-betting and property fraud.
His three-month trial threw up extraordinary allegations about the behaviour of Royal protection officers, including claims that they sat on the Queen’s throne and sold steroids and pornography while on duty.
But the jury never got to hear some of Page’s most bizarre allegations about senior royals and a lax security regime at the Palace.
In original court papers, dismissed by the judge, Page had claimed that Prince Andrew, a golfing fanatic, routinely asked members of the elite Royal police squad to act as “ball boys” while they were supposed to be guarding him.
The officer on duty would be ordered to stand about 100 yards away from the Prince and then have to run around picking up the balls after he struck them, he claimed.
The documents also claimed the Prince entertained female friends at the Palace – including Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of the late tycoon Robert Maxwell – without going through proper security procedures.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “The allegations contained in the court documents about the Duke of York are absolutely and categorically untrue.”
Page also claimed that the Duke of Edinburgh told officers not to walk on the gravel path outside his bedroom window in case they woke him up, insisting they kept to the grass.
His allegations about behind-the-scenes Palace life even contained the claim – of questionable relevance to his defence – that the Queen owns a yellow rubber duck that has a tiny gold crown painted on its head.
Britain’s Prince Andrew delivers a speech during a Carbon Market conference between South Korea and Britain in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2008. Andrew, also known as the Duke of York, arrived in South Korea as the representation of the United Kingdom Trade and Investment focused on enhancing business ties between the two countries. AP Photo
During the trial at London’s Southwark Crown Court, the prosecution accused the “charismatic, plausible and persuasive” Page of bringing many of his 57 victims to the brink of bankruptcy with his “rampant deceit”.
Friends, family and fellow policemen invested up to £260,000 each in what they believed to be a thriving property investment fund, but the Royal protection officer used the money to fund his expensive lifestyle – hiring Porsches and Mercedes, and covering debts amassed from bets on the foreign exchange markets.
Much of the capital for his market speculation had been provided by Palace colleagues as part of syndicate that he named The Currency Club.
Page invented the deaths of several relatives, “killing off” his father three times, to avoid repaying the money.
As part of his defence, Page alleged that five-figure sums regularly changed hands among officers involved in betting syndicates at Buckingham and St James Palaces. He also claimed that guards routinely slept off hangovers in private royal quarters.
His lurid allegations were dismissed by the Crown as “diversionary tactics” to mask his “blatant dishonesty”, and the Metropolitan Police said that the picture he painted of Royal protection unit “was not recognised”.
The allegations have been considered internally at Scotland Yard, but a spokesman said that they will not be formally investigated.
The jury took just under four hours to unanimously convict Page of fraudulent trading between 2003 and 2006 on Thursday, but the verdict count only be reported after he was cleared of a second count of intimidating one of his victims yesterday.
Postponing sentencing until July 30, Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC said that “a substantial sentence of imprisonment is inevitable.”
Page’s wife Laura was earlier cleared of money laundering, witness intimidation and making a threat to kill.
Page, of Chafford Hundred, Essex, who joined the police in 1992 and transferred to the Royalty Protection Command in 1998, was sacked from the Met after his arrest.