Prince Andrew is 'person of interest' in Jeffrey Epstein investigation
Prince Andrew is ‘person of interest’ in Epstein investigation: US prosecutors probing Ghislaine Maxwell’s activities want to quiz Duke over friendship with paedophile billionaire – as he faces civil lawsuit from Virginia Roberts
- Prosecutors in US view Andrew as ‘person of interest’ in inquiry, claims source
- They are said to want to speak to Duke of York about his friendship with Epstein
- As a person of interest, the Queen’s son is viewed at least as a potential witness
- Questioning him would form part of investigation into possible co-conspirators
Prosecutors in the US investigating people linked to Jeffrey Epstein consider Prince Andrew to be a ‘person of interest’ in the inquiry, a source claimed last night.
Investigators probing Ghislaine Maxwell and other Epstein associates are said to want to speak to the Duke of York about his friendship with the paedophile financier.
As a person of interest, the Queen’s son is viewed at least as a potential witness – and questioning him would form part of the investigation into possible co-conspirators.
Prosecutors last week said Andrew, 61, had ‘sought to falsely portray himself to the public as eager and willing to cooperate’ but had given no interview to federal authorities and had repeatedly declined requests to talk with investigators.
Andrew remains a person of interest to prosecutors in the office of the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, according to the source – but they do not expect to be able to interview him in the foreseeable future, if ever.
Virginia Roberts, now Virginia Giuffre, was photographed with Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell in London in 2001. Mrs Giuffre, now 38, is suing the prince for ‘punitive damages’
‘He doesn’t seem to want to talk to us,’ said the source, who is familiar with the US inquiry. Representatives of the Prince declined to comment, but have previously denied any wrongdoing of failure to assist.
Earlier this month, Virginia Giuffre, who has said she was abused by Epstein, filed a civil complaint against Andrew in Manhattan federal court.
Queen will continue on Balmoral summer break despite staff member’s positive Covid test
The Queen has said she will continue her summer break at Balmoral despite a member of staff tested positive for Covid.
Her Majesty will stay on at the Scottish retreat after an employee was sent home on Saturday following a positive PCR test, the Sun reported.
A source told the newspaper: ‘All the staff at Balmoral are tested for Covid daily and on Saturday this person showed up as positive.
‘They were sent home and the staff canteen and bar were shut. They’re on a separate block of the estate.
‘Workers have been told to wear masks and to socially distance but the royals themselves are pretty much carrying on as they were.’
A spokesman for Buckingham Palace said: ‘The Royal Household has measures in place should there be any cases of Covid identified.’
The Balmoral estate is currently housing Princess Beatrice and her husband Edoardo Mozzi, Prince Edward and Sophie and Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Fergie.
Ms Giuffre, who used to be known as Virginia Roberts, alleges Andrew forced her to have unwanted sexual intercourse at Maxwell’s London home.
Andrew has denied the allegation. Epstein died in an apparent suicide in 2019 while awaiting trial on charges of trafficking minors.
Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to charges that she procured teenage girls for Epstein to sexually abuse between 1994 and 2004. She is expected to go on trial in November.
Prosecutors last year sent the British government a formal request, known as a mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) submission, asking for access to the prince so they could talk to him.
The MLAT is a procedure used in criminal investigations to gather material from foreign countries which cannot readily be obtained on a cooperative basis.
Ms Giuffre’s lawyer had no immediate comment.
It comes as pressure mounted on Andrew this week to respond to sex abuse claims as an alleged witness said he was prepared to swear under oath that he saw the duke groping his accuser.
As royal aides were said to believe there were ‘inconsistencies’ in Andrew’s account of his dealings with Ms Giuffre, a former employee of Epstein said he was prepared to testify about what he claims to have seen.
Steve Scully, who was Epstein’s telecoms specialist, says he spotted the duke kissing and grinding against a bikini-clad blonde by a pool on the tycoon’s Caribbean island hideaway ‘between 2001 and 2004’, the Sun on Sunday reported.
Mr Scully insisted to the paper that the woman was Mrs Giuffre –then 17 and called Virginia Roberts.
‘If Virginia’s lawyers call, I will definitely speak to them and I would give a deposition under oath,’ the 71-year-old told the paper.
Prosecutors probing the activities of those linked to Jeffrey Epstein (left) consider Andrew (right) a person of interest in the investigation, a source familiar with the US inquiry said
‘The nice thing about the truth is that it doesn’t change. There’s no question in my mind that I saw Prince Andrew and Virginia together and no question he would remember the incident either.’
The existence of a witness who could support Mrs Giuffre’s claims in a bombshell US lawsuit last week that Andrew sexually assaulted her in New York, London and the Caribbean in 2001 when she was just 17 comes as he faces mounting questions over his lawyers’ continued silence.
Last week the UK’s most senior police officer Dame Cressida Dick revealed she had told Met detectives to review the claims against the prince, warning: ‘No one is above the law.’
Mrs Giuffre, now 38, is suing the prince for ‘punitive damages’ which could amount to millions of pounds if she wins her case.
Virginia Giuffre (centre, in blue) in New York in 2019 with her lawyer David Boies for a hearing
The 61-year-old prince has strenuously denied her claims that she was forced to have sex with him on Epstein’s orders.
He said he categorically did not have any sexual contact with her and does not even recall meeting her.
But the failure of his lawyers to formally respond to Mrs Giuffre’s lawsuit has been met with incredulity, with palace insiders telling the Mail last week they were ‘extremely unhappy with the strategy of stonewalling’.
The duke’s lawyers may apply to have the case thrown out on the basis that the New York court has no jurisdiction in the UK, according to the Sunday Times.
The Queen with her son Prince Andrew on the Buckingham Palace balcony in June 2019
While the prince vehemently denies her claims, with palace insiders pointing out that her account has changed over the past decade, they acknowledge there are question marks over his version of events too.
However a source told the Mail this week that Mr Scully’s account was also ‘questionable’.
The source pointed out that by his own recollection, the alleged sighting of Andrew with Mrs Giuffre might have taken place as late as 2004 – by which time she was married and no longer working for Epstein.
Epstein died in his jail cell in 2019 after being charged with sex trafficking.
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