Jeffrey Epstein storm: Prince Andrew ‘now willing to talk to the FBI if requested’ Palace sources say as questions emerge over Duke’s timeline for first meeting disgraced millionaire
- Prince Andrew will co-operate with police over the Jeffrey Epstein case if asked
- Metropolitan Police decided not to investigate claims first made in 2015 against the Duke of York
- Alleged Epstein victims have urged Duke to help investigators in lawsuit
- In recent press statement he tried to downplay his friendship with Epstein
- The pair first met in 1999, and Prince Andrew would see Epstein ‘one or two times a year’
Prince Andrew will co-operate with police over the Jeffrey Epstein case if asked, the Mail has been told.
Buckingham Palace aides made clear that the embattled Duke of York would be willing to help authorities on both sides of the Atlantic if approached, saying: ‘Members of the Royal Family would always co-operate with the police in an appropriate way.’
Last week it emerged that the Metropolitan Police had decided not to investigate claims first made in 2015 that the prince had sex with a 17-year-old victim of the paedophile financier, who committed suicide earlier this month awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. But the FBI are investigating both the charges against Epstein and the circumstances around his death.
Buckingham Palace has strenuously denied Andrew had ‘any form of sexual contact or relationship’ with Virginia Roberts, who has made the allegations against him and was pictured with him in 2001
Lawyers for his alleged victims have urged the duke to help them by telling the authorities what he knows. Buckingham Palace has strenuously denied Andrew had ‘any form of sexual contact or relationship’ with Virginia Roberts, who has made the allegations against him and was pictured with him in 2001.
The suggestion that the prince could give evidence as part of a police inquiry comes after he released a personal statement on the crisis.
In it he tried to downplay his friendship with Epstein, who was jailed in 2008 for having sex with a child, and said he had never suspected him of any criminal behaviour.
However, the statement failed to answer questions raised by Andrew’s behaviour, particularly his frequent visits to Epstein’s many homes across the US.
The Mail has submitted a list of 16 questions to Andrew’s office in Buckingham Palace attempting to set the record straight. But while there were still no official answers forthcoming, sources have given some clarification on top of the published statement.
The suggestion that the prince could give evidence as part of a police inquiry comes after he released a personal statement on the crisis. In it he tried to downplay his friendship with Epstein, who was jailed in 2008 for having sex with a child, and said he had never suspected him of any criminal behaviour
Once again, they insist Andrew only met Epstein in 1999 but confirmed he had known Ghislaine Maxwell –Epstein’s ex-girlfriend who has been accused by several victims of being his ‘procurer in chief’ – for ‘many years, since she was a student’.
This supports intelligence that Miss Maxwell, daughter of the late newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell, was instrumental in introducing the prince to the paedophile.
The sources also confirmed, for the first time, that Andrew did not have any contact with Epstein while he was in prison and only once following his release, when the pair were photographed in New York in December 2010.
On February 12 the group flew back to Palm Beach with Anna Malova (pictured), a Russian model who appears to have been on the island already. Miss Malova, who was 27 at the time, was a candidate for Miss Universe but was later jailed for failing to attend a drug treatment programme
But there was no clarification as to whether he and Epstein saw each other in the months leading up to his first imprisonment in 2008.
‘The duke did not have any contact with Jeffrey Epstein during his time in prison and visited him once following his release. He showed mistaken loyalty and regrets the visit,’ a source said.
It subsequently emerged that Andrew’s ex-wife, Sarah, Duchess of York, accepted £15,000 from Epstein to settle some of her debts. She has since apologised for doing so.
Asked whether the duke had taken any money from Epstein, the source insisted for the first time he had no ‘financial dealings’ with Epstein.
But questions remain over the duke’s behaviour and some of the claims.
Flight logs submitted in court and examined by the Mail show Andrew’s family met the paedophile a year before he claimed to have first encountered him. The duke claimed in his latest statement, which was designed to quell the storm of criticism, that he met Epstein for the first time in 1999.
But flight logs show Epstein met the Duchess of York in Nassau in the Bahamas on April 16, 1998, accompanied by the duke and daughters Beatrice and Eugenie.
Flight logs also show Andrew stayed on Epstein’s Caribbean island Little St James – known by locals as ‘Paedophile Island’ – for three days in early February 1999.
Assuming that Andrew had indeed met Epstein for the first time in 1999, it would be remarkable that only five weeks into the year they were close enough that the duke was invited on the trip.
Buckingham Palace told the Mail that Andrew had ‘no recollection’ of his three days in Little St James. Andrew is listed as having flown on Epstein’s plane, a Gulfstream jet known as the ‘Lolita Express’, from Teterboro airport near New York on February 9, 1999 to St Thomas, capital of the US Virgin Islands.
From there he would probably have taken a short helicopter ride to Little St James. On board the flight were Epstein, Miss Maxwell and her assistant Emmy Tayler.
On February 12 the group flew back to Palm Beach with Anna Malova, a Russian model who appears to have been on the island already.
Miss Malova, who was 27 at the time, was a candidate for Miss Universe but was later jailed for failing to attend a drug treatment programme.
A spokeswoman for Buckingham Palace said: ‘The duke has publicly stated that he first met Mr Epstein in 1999. He has no recollection of the flight made in February 1999.’
Anatomy of a fightback: How Prince Andrew’s statement over friendship with Jeffrey Epstein raises questions as well as answers them
Two weeks after Jeffrey Epstein’s prison suicide, Prince Andrew publicly addressed issues arising from his controversial friendship with the paedophile.
Here we analyse the Duke of York’s official weekend statement…
Blaming the press
Seeks to blame Press reports whereas, far from being mere ‘speculation’, his close links with Epstein are a matter of fact and well documented in many photos and court documents.
Calling friendship into question
Why does the Palace say either an ‘association’ or a ‘friendship’? There is a distinct difference. Is he trying to distance himself from the Epstein scandal by using the word ‘association’? Other confidants of the pair have described them as having a close friendship, with Epstein himself referring to the prince as ‘Andy’.
A belated statement
Though supposedly ‘eager’ to set the record straight, this statement was issued two weeks after Epstein’s death – and provides little new insight. Over several years previously, Buckingham Palace has not answered detailed questions that might offer a comprehensive explanation of their relationship. Also, it is more than ‘speculation’ – reports are based on hard facts.
Flight logs submitted in court suggest the two men may have first met before 1999. In April 1998, Epstein met Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson and his daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie, in the Bahamas. Andrew travelled on Epstein’s jet to his private Caribbean island on February 9, 1999, for a three-day stay, which might be considered unusual for a first meeting.
How often did they meet?
Royals’ lives are meticulously diarised so it ought to be possible to provide a full account of where and when he met Epstein, and where he stayed. Media stories indicate the pair met more than twice in some years and Andrew often stayed with him for several days. The statement also fails to detail Epstein’s visits to Windsor Castle, Balmoral and Sandringham.
A lack of suspicion
Many of Epstein’s acquaintances have said he flaunted the fact he was often accompanied by girls and women now known to be his ‘sex slaves’. Didn’t Andrew spot anything strange about the number of women consorts? In any case, why didn’t he drop him like a stone after his arrest and conviction? Andrew would have to be rather unperceptive to not have become at all suspicious of his friend.
Why didn’t he stay away?
Andrew continued to cosy up to Epstein in 2010 despite the financier having just been released from an 18-month jail term for under-age sex offences.
Will he help the police?
Although he is not accused of any wrongdoing, the duke could help address many unanswered questions by speaking to police, either in the UK or the US.
Trying to cut links
This seems to be a belated attempt to break away from his association with Epstein and align himself in a #MeToo fashion with the American’s victims of sex crimes.
A strange phrase
The word ‘lifestyle’ is a very curious description of Epstein’s grotesque crimes and has been condemned as treating sexual abuse of young women as a ‘lifestyle’ choice and not a pernicious crime.
What’s in a name?
Signing off casually with just his first name, rather than his official title the Duke of York, is unusually informal – particularly for such a very serious matter.
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