13:45 GMT30 March 2020
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    In a recent interview with the BBC, Virginia Giuffre, 35, who claims she was raped by Jeffrey Epstein and forced to have sex with Prince Andrew three times when she was 17, said both she and the Duke of York know what happened back then.

    Scotland Yard has defended its decision not to probe claims of sex trafficking made against US financier Jeffrey Epstein, saying after discussing the issue with other law enforcement organisations it decided not to launch a criminal investigation, because it would be not the appropriate authority to conduct inquiries.

    Alex Murray, commander for specialist crime confirmed that the Metropolitan Police received a complaint from Virginia Giuffre in 2015, who alleges that she was trafficked in London by Jeffrey Epstein in 2001, but decided that the issue wouldn’t proceed to a full criminal investigation as it would be focused on activities and relationships outside Britain and hence the issue should be investigated by other law enforcement agencies.

    “The MPS always takes any allegations concerning sexual exploitation seriously. Officers assessed the available evidence, interviewed the complainant and obtained early investigative advice from the Crown Prosecution Service. We therefore concluded that the MPS was not the appropriate authority to conduct enquiries in these circumstances and, in November 2016, a decision was made that this matter would not proceed to a full criminal investigation”, Alex Murray said.

    The development comes after one of Epstein’s alleged victims, Virginia Giuffre, accused Scotland Yard and the FBI of corruption, saying the two agencies promised to look into her claims, but then were not allowed to pursue investigations.

    ​Giuffre claims that she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew three times when she was 17, including in 2001 in London at the home of Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s ex-girlfriend and the Duke’s friend. A photo posted online shows the royal and Giuffre standing together, with the Duke’s hand on Giuffre’s waist and Ghislaine Maxwell standing in the background. Prince Andrew categorically denied the accusations and said he had no recollection of meeting Virginia Giuffre, back then Virginia Roberts, and the moment the photo was taken. Buckingham Palace has called Giuffre’s accusations “false and without any foundation”.

    The Duke of York has faced enormous pressure over his ties with US financier Jeffrey Epstein after the latter was arrested this summer on charges of sex trafficking of minors and took his own life while awaiting trial. Prince Andrew has admitted he visited Epstein’s mansions, travelled on his plane, and stayed on his private island, where Epstein’s victims claim sexual abuse took place. The royal said it was a mistake to meet with the disgraced billionaire in 2010 after he was found guilty of soliciting prostitution and ordered to register as sex offender.

    The royal recently stepped down from public duties, because the Epstein scandal has “caused a major disruption for the royal family” and said he is “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigation, if required".

    Scotland Yard, Metropolitan Police, Buckingham Palace, UK Police, sex trafficking ring, sexual abuse, Jeffrey Epstein, Prince Andrew
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