An oaf abroad; an oaf responsible for trade promotion, which can be a fairly oafish business
In the cable from the US embassy to Washington in October 2008, Gfoeller wrote: "Rude language a la British … [Andrew] turned to the general issue of promoting British economic interests abroad. He railed at British anti-corruption investigators, who had had the 'idiocy' of almost scuttling the Al-Yamama deal with Saudi Arabia."
The prince, she explained, "was referencing an investigation, subsequently closed, into alleged kickbacks a senior Saudi royal had received in exchange for the multi-year, lucrative BAE Systems contract to provide equipment and training to Saudi security forces."
Though it has to be said that the businessmen he was regaling with this were also pretty oafish. But why, other than him being an archetypal British Brute, would he think like this?
Andrew's other forays into central Asia, where he is reported to have a good relationship with President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, have also proved controversial. Ambassador Richard Hoagland cabled in April 2009 his view of political life in Kazakhstan: "Corruption is endemic among Kazakhstani officialdom… Most senior officials live lifestyles that require much higher incomes. In many instances, they receive profits from businesses registered in the names of their spouses or other relatives. In other cases, they're stealing directly from the public trough."
Earlier this year, it was revealed that the president's billionaire son-in-law Timur Kulibayev paid Andrew's representatives £15m – £3m over the asking price – via offshore companies, for the prince's Surrey mansion, Sunninghill Park, which he was apparently having difficulty selling.
Ah huh. Anyway, for those interested in less trivial stuff, The Friday Lunch club is doing a good job of trawling the memos.