'Andrew Is Not the Villain He's Being Made out to Be. I Have Seen Him in Action and He Is a Superb Trade Envoy'; the Glamorous Tycoon Who Helped the Duke of York Sell His Marital Home Defends Her Royal; Friend but Distances Herself from Wolf-Hunting 'Acquaintance' Saif Gaddafi. David Cohen Reports

The Evening Standard (London, England), March 8, 2011 | Go to article overview

'Andrew Is Not the Villain He's Being Made out to Be. I Have Seen Him in Action and He Is a Superb Trade Envoy'; the Glamorous Tycoon Who Helped the Duke of York Sell His Marital Home Defends Her Royal; Friend but Distances Herself from Wolf-Hunting 'Acquaintance' Saif Gaddafi. David Cohen Reports


Byline: David Cohen

GOGA Ashkenazi, the glamorous oil and gas tycoon, has vociferously defended her "close friend" Prince Andrew and offered insight into his "distressed" state of mind.

In an exclusive interview with the Evening Standard, she says that the Duke of York (who has not yet spoken to the press) had messaged her on his Black-Berry over the weekend, asking, "Have you seen the papers?" and saying that he was "very, very upset" about the way he has been portrayed and "very, very worried" about whether he'd be able to continue his role as a trade envoy.

Andrew is under "massive and unfair media pressure", she says, following revelations concerning his friend of 15 years, Jeffrey Epstein, 58, who was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2008 for soliciting a minor for prostitution.

"I told Andrew not to worry, that he'd done nothing wrong, and that it was being blown out of proportion. Of course, he knows it was unwise to fraternise with this Epstein character, and it was silly to be photographed with his arm around Epstein's masseuse [Virginia Roberts]. But I know Andrew as a lovely, lovely man -- kind-hearted, impeccably behaved and honourable -- and I'm quite sure that at the time he had no idea that she was underage or anything more than a masseuse to Epstein."

The Oxford-educated socialite who lives in a [pounds sterling]28 million mansion in Holland Park and has known Andrew since the late Lord Hanson's son Robert introduced them at a party in 2001, adds: "Andrew is not the villain he's being made out to be. I have seen him in action, including in my own country, Kazakhstan. He is a superb trade envoy, totally passionate and patriotic and doing the most amazing job for British business by opening doors behind the scenes -- and for no personal gain.

"Yes, he's made a mistake, but it's not the kind of mistake that should cost him his job. It should be weighed up against all the good he has done. In my opinion, Britain is very lucky to have him."

Ashkenazi, 31, was speaking to the Standard at Harry's Bar in Mayfair where a longstanding lunch scheduled to discuss her latest business venture was overtaken by talk of her friendships with the two men currently dominating world news.

Wafer-thin and wearing a [pounds sterling]50,000 diamond necklace and silk Givenchy top, Ashkenazi is a picture of exotic elegance. But beneath the Bond-girl looks lies a steely businesswoman who arrived here as a young teenager and made a stratospheric rise through the chauvinistic oil and gas industry to the pinnacle of British society.

There are few who know Andrew and his friends as well as Goga, but whereas she is lavish in her praise for the 51-year-old Duke, she downplays her connection to their mutual friend, Saif Gaddafi.

She last saw Saif, 38, at Davos six weeks ago, she says. At the time, the Tunisian President Zine-al-Abidine had already been ousted and the popular Egyptian uprising was under way. Did Saif appear concerned? "Not at all. I bumped into him at one of the big Davos parties and he was his usual confident self."

But then, she reflects, it's not the kind of thing he would ever discuss with her. "Saif is more of an acquaintance than a friend. I've only known him three years. It's not like with Andrew where we talk regularly, go to dinner or invite each other to our respective birthday parties."

(Although Andrew has introduced Goga to the Queen and invited her to Buckingham Palace on numerous occasions, they have, contrary to rumour, never been an item, she adds.) "Occasionally, very rarely, Saif calls me, but it's always for something specific, like when he contacted me last year and said he wanted to go to Kazakhstan to meet the president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, and senior figures in the oil and gas industry."

It was on that trip, recalls Goga, that she took him on a Kazakh wolf-hunting expedition, a "favourite hobby" she shares with Andrew. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

'Andrew Is Not the Villain He's Being Made out to Be. I Have Seen Him in Action and He Is a Superb Trade Envoy'; the Glamorous Tycoon Who Helped the Duke of York Sell His Marital Home Defends Her Royal; Friend but Distances Herself from Wolf-Hunting 'Acquaintance' Saif Gaddafi. David Cohen Reports
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.