09:37 GMT24 February 2020
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    Prince Andrew, 59, reportedly claimed to be willing to cooperate with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and "help if required" with the ongoing probe into the sex trafficking ring of the American paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. The Duke of York subsequently dropped out of the public eye after being directly implicated by multiple victims.

    The FBI reportedly has contacted the royal's attorneys, requesting an interview, but they have provided "zero cooperation", according to The Sun.

    The UK media broke the news late on Tuesday, citing sources, that Queen Elizabeth's youngest son was "committed to the legal process" and was "more than happy to talk" but "hasn't been approached yet", adding that the Duke of York was "angry about the way this is being portrayed and bewildered as to why this was said in New York. It seems certain people are jumping the gun".

    The development comes on the heels of lawyers for the victims of Jeffrey Epstein who have observed that Prince Andrew's lack of cooperation with the FBI is a "slap in the face" and "raises more questions", according to the media outlet.

    US lawyer Lisa Bloom, representing five women who claim to be sex victims of Epstein, reportedly slammed the lack of cooperation from Prince Andrew, while another lawyer representing Andrew's primary accuser, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, said his failure to cooperate "raises even more questions".

    Giuffre testified in a sworn deposition she was sexually exploited by Epstein as an underage sex slave between 1999-2002. Her testimony included detailed descriptions of her experience of being forced to have sex with Prince Andrew three times when she was 17.

    Prince Andrew claimed later in an interview with the UK-based media that a photo - an important piece of evidence in the ongoing investigation - in which he is seen wrapping an arm around the underage Giuffre was doctored.

    Epstein, a convicted sex abuser and child rapist, had been under investigation for nearly two decades at the time of his suspicious death in custody in summer 2019.

    The convicted paedophile, who has been linked to many wealthy and powerful people, including US Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, was inexplicably taken off of suicide watch, despite reportedly trying to kill himself just weeks earlier. He was previously sentenced after being convicted as a sex offender and paedophile. Epstein served a light sentence of just 13 months.

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    Tags:
    Investigation, FBI, pedophiles, Prince Andrew, Jeffrey Epstein
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