Prince Andrew is 'a Person of Interest' in Epstein Probe as Pressure Around Royal Tightens: Report
Despite repeated allegations from Jeffrey Epstein’s most vocal accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre that she was sex trafficked to Prince Andrew by the financier and his close associate Ghislaine Maxwell at the age of 17, the Queen’s son has remained adamant that he has “no recollection” of ever meeting the girl.
Prince Andrew is not expected to sit with US prosecutors in the near future despite being called “a person of interest” in the investigation into the activities of high-profile associates of Jeffrey Epstein, including Ghislaine Maxwell, according to a source familiar with the probe.
Prosecutors at the office of the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York have long called on the Duke of York to cooperate with their investigation into Epstein’s alleged abuse and sex trafficking of dozens of underage girls to his powerful friends.
The Queen’s second son claimed through his lawyers last year that he had offered his help to the US Department of Justice at least three times. But Attorney Geoffrey Berman maintained in response that the Duke had declined all interview requests from US authorities in the past and had “sought to falsely portray himself to the public as eager and willing to cooperate”.
According to the Reuters source, Prince Andrew “doesn’t seem to want to talk” to US prosecutors and the highly-anticipated interview with the Duke to discuss his unfortunate association with the financier was probably not forthcoming in the near future.
Epstein died in his prison cell two years ago while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges; his ex-girlfriend and close associate Ghislaine Maxwell is currently slated to stand trial amid accusations that she had helped the financier to groom and abuse young women.
Maxwell is said to be the one who had introduced Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of Epstein’s accusers, to Prince Andrew back in 2001 when she was still 17. The woman, now 38, claims that she and Prince Andrew had sex on three occasions and that their first time was in Maxwell’s London home.
© Photo : Florida Southern District CourtPrince Andrew, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, and Ghislaine Maxwell. This photo was included in an affidavit in which Giuffre alleged that she was directed to have sex with Andrew
Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, and Ghislaine Maxwell. This photo was included in an affidavit in which Giuffre alleged that she was directed to have sex with Andrew
© Photo : Florida Southern District Court
The royal has publicly distanced himself from the allegations, claiming during a now-infamous BBC interview that he had “no recollection” of ever meeting Virginia Roberts Giuffre. He also said that the widely circulating photo showing the royal with his arm around her waist was probably doctored. During the interview, that was aired in November 2019, Prince Andrew also signalled that he didn’t really regret being friends with Epstein and dismissed details about his alleged encounter with Virginia Roberts Giuffre. The interview provoked a major backlash with the Duke of Edinburgh eventually stepping down from many of his public duties following the programme’s release.
In August, Virginia Roberts Giuffre filed a civil lawsuit under New York's Child Victims Act, alleging sexual assault by the prince. Lawyers believe that the case against the British royal could last over a decade.
The prince’s representatives didn’t comment on the new report alleging his unwillingness to cooperate with the Epstein-Maxwell probe.
Being a “person of interest” in an investigation doesn’t imply guilt, but means that the prince is viewed at least as a potential witness by prosecutors.