A LIBYAN lobbyist friend of Prince Andrew with drugs and arms convictions gave a diamond necklace said to be worth almost $31,250 to his daughter, Princess Beatrice.
The gold necklace with a solitaire diamond was presented to Beatrice at her 21st birthday party in 2009 by the Libyan fixer, who was one of a select number of guests. Andrew is alleged to have tried to help to secure him lucrative work with a British company.
The revelation will renew pressure on the Duke of York to relinquish his role as special trade envoy for British businesses abroad. He has faced calls to resign over his connections to controversial figures, including the billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who was jailed for sleeping with underage girls.
The necklace was given by Tarek Kaituni, the Libyan, at a time when he was involved in discussions with a British water treatment company about working as a consultant in Libya.
Buckingham Palace denied that Andrew had played any role as a broker between Kaituni and Biwater or lobbied for him to get a fee. Royal sources said he could not remember the dinner.
Andrew’s connection to Kaituni has been a consistent source of embarrassment. He first became involved with the Libyan, who now has US citizenship, in 2005.
The same year Kaituni was convicted of smuggling a sub-machinegun into France. His former girlfriend Lisa Van Goinga, a model, said she believed he intended to kill her after their relationship ended. In 1998 Kaituni was jailed for a year for possession of drugs.
Despite Kaituni’s past, Andrew has holidayed several times with him in north Africa, during which they privately met Colonel Gadaffi at least twice. Andrew took hospitality from Kaituni, staying at his Tunisian villa and on another occasion allowing him to pick up the bills for their hotels, although the prince later reimbursed him.
The latest allegations show the ties between the two men go deeper than previously realised. In 2009 Kaituni offered to act as consultant to smooth Biwater’s relations with the Gadaffi regime – with which it had a number of lucrative contracts – in return for a fee.
Manel Hamrouni, who was Kaituni’s girlfriend at the time, said: “Tarek told me Andrew had put him together with Biwater because the company was having some problems dealing with the Libyans.
“Tarek went to Libya and spoke to people there but then he didn’t get paid a commission by Biwater. Apparently they didn’t feel he’d earned it.
“He asked Andrew to help and there was a dinner in Paris where Andrew spoke to someone from Biwater and told them he thought they should pay Tarek. I was there, too, with Tarek.”
This weekend Biwater confirmed that it had had contact with Kaituni but denied he had ever been paid.
It said Kaituni had approached it “directly”.