Dubbed “the backroom fixer”, Mark Gallagher, a former director of corporate affairs and chief of staff at ITV, specialises in crisis management and has been brought in to help restore Prince Andrew’s reputation in the wake of the Jeffrey Epstein scandal.
The appointment comes after the Telegraph exclusively revealed that the beleaguered royal had hired Britain’s most respected extradition lawyer to fend off an FBI inquiry into his friendship with the convicted paedophile.
He has been receiving legal advice from Clare Montgomery QC, whose clients have included Augusto Pinochet, Chile’s former dictator and Nirav Modi, wanted for India’s biggest fraud. She has been described as “the most formidable member of the bar.”
Ms Montgomery is being briefed by Gary Bloxsome, a criminal defence solicitor and partner at Blackfords, who has defended British troops against war crime allegations and is understood to have been appointed directly by the Duke.
Mr Gallagher founded Pagefield Communications in 2010, having sat on the main board of Camelot Group plc as group corporate affairs after being Public Affairs Director at ITN.
His firm’s 300 clients have included Airbnb, British Airways, Discovery Networks, TalkTalk, Kellogg’s and Starling Bank.
Mr Gallagher also sat on the advisory board and helped to coordinate the Thames Pageant celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
His private clients over the last six years have included those falsely accused of child abuse by Carl Beech, aka ‘Nick’, including former MP Harvey Proctor and Lady Brittan, the wife of former Home Secretary Leon Brittan.
The powerful reputational management has been assembled following a demand by the FBI and US prosecutors to interview the Duke about his relationship with Epstein.
On Monday, Geoffrey Berman, the US attorney leading the inquiry, claimed Andrew had refused to cooperate, raising the prospect that he could be subpoenaed to give evidence.
In November, in the wake of the backlash over his poorly received Newsnight interview, the Duke, 60, announced that he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.”
But Mr Berman, speaking in New York, said: “Contrary to Prince Andrew’s very public offer to cooperate with our investigation into Epstein’s co-conspirators, an offer that was conveyed via press release, Prince Andrew has now completely shut the door on voluntary cooperation and our office is considering its options.”
His comments form the latest salvo in a war of words between the two camps, with Buckingham Palace distancing itself from the scandal.
Ms Montgomery and Mr Bloxsome are thought to have assessed the evidence and concluded that the US does not have the power to subpoena the Duke.
But US prosecutors believe they have every right to publicly chase him for a statement because he put his own head above the parapet.
A source said: “It was his decision to make that statement and as such, he should be held to his word.”
Mr Berman’s office is now considering a range of possibilities, including making a mutual legal assistance request to the UK, a formal process that allows cooperation between states when evidence needs to be gathered in a prosecution or investigation of criminal offences.
Any MLA would have to be approved by the Home Office and could then require the Duke to appear in a UK court to give evidence under oath.
Last night, sources close to the Duke cast doubt over Mr Berman’s version of events, having accusing US prosecutors of “failing to play with a straight bat”.
The Duke was said to be “angry and bewildered” by the suggestion he had refused to cooperate.