The Duke of York is said to be “angry and bewildered” about claims he has failed to cooperate with US investigators over the Jeffrey Epstein inquiry, saying he has not been approached to speak about the case.
The New York state attorney, Geoffrey Berman, has accused Prince Andrew of “zero cooperation” and not responding to requests by the FBI and US lawyers for an interview over his friendship with the disgraced financier.
Andrew is “more than happy to talk [but] hasn’t been approached by them yet,” sources insisted.
Buckingham Palace refused to comment on Berman’s claims, made at a news conference in New York on Monday, saying the matter was being dealt with by the prince’s legal team.
According to sources, Andrew is “committed to the legal process”. One reportedly said: “He is angry about the way this is being portrayed and bewildered as to why this was said in New York.”
Andrew stepped down from royal duties in November after his disastrous interview on BBC’s Newsnight over his relationship with Epstein. He was criticised for failing to show any regret over his friendship with the financier, who took his own life in prison while awaiting trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.
Born in Brooklyn in 1953, Jeffrey Epstein was a convicted sex offender and financier who died in jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial for the sex trafficking of minors in Florida and New York. He had previously served 13 months in jail after being convicted in 2008 of procuring an underage girl for prostitution and of soliciting a prostitute.
Epstein’s death came after unsealed documents in New York revealed the extent of his abuse of young women at his home in Palm Beach, New York and the Virgin Islands. An earlier attempt to prosecute him on similar charges had collapsed when authorities granted him an unusually generous deal to plead guilty to state prostitution charges in Florida.
Epstein made his name at the investment bank Bear Stearns before opening his own firm in 1982, managing money for clients with wealth in excess of $1bn. The business came with an intensive social schedule. Epstein positioned himself as a party figure in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida, and courted the rich, famous and powerful across America and the world.
Epstein’s circle of friends and acquaintances has included Donald Trump; Bill Clinton; Prince Andrew; Leslie Wexner, founder of the company that owns the Victoria’s Secret lingerie brand; and many other prominent names in law, entertainment and politics.
Virginia Giuffre, who claims she was trafficked by Epstein, has alleged she was instructed to have sex with Andrew on three occasion from the age of 17. The prince categorically denies he had any form of sexual contact or relationship with her.
At the time Andrew stood down, he insisted: “I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency.”
Berman, who is overseeing the investigation, told reporters outside Epstein’s New York mansion that “to date, Prince Andrew has provided zero cooperation”. The US investigation is looking at possible “conspirators” who worked with Epstein.
Berman’s comments prompted furious responses from lawyers of Epstein’s alleged victims who are involved in a separate civil lawsuit. Lisa Bloom, who represents five women, said Berman had been left with “no choice” but to comment publicly about Andrew’s alleged lack of cooperation because he did not have the power to subpoena the royal as part of the criminal investigation.
(January 1, 1999) Beginnings
Andrew is reported as having been introduced to Jeffrey Epstein through mutual friend Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell. Epstein reportedly visits the Queen’s private Scottish retreat in Aberdeenshire
(January 1, 2000) Sightings
Andrew, Maxwell and Epstein are seen together at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida. Later in the year, Epstein and Maxwell attend a joint birthday party at Windsor castle hosted by the Queen
(January 1, 2001) Teenager claims
Virginia Giuffre, then aged 17, claims to have had sex with Andrew in Maxwell’s Belgravia home. Giuffre, whose surname was Roberts at the time of the alleged incidents, says she slept with Andrew on two further occasions, at Epstein’s New York home and at an “orgy” on his private island in the Caribbean
(January 1, 2008) Epstein jailed
Epstein is jailed for 18 months after pleading guilty to prostituting minors
(January 1, 2010) Epstein freed
Soon after his release from jail, Epstein is visited by Andrew in New York. The pair are photographed together in Central Park. Footage emerges years later, reportedly shot on 6 December, that appears to show Andrew inside Epstein’s Manhattan mansion waving goodbye to a woman from behind a large door
(January 1, 2011) Backlash
Andrew quits his role as UK trade envoy following a furore over the Central Park photos
(January 1, 2015) Claims emerge
Allegations that Andrew had sex with Giuffre emerge in US court documents related to Epstein. The papers, filed in Florida, state that she was forced to have sex with Andrew when she was 17, which is under the age of consent in the state. Buckingham Palace denies the allegations.
The claims against Andrew are later struck from US civil court records following a federal judge’s ruling
(January 1, 2019) More claims
Andrew is accused of sexual impropriety by a second alleged Epstein victim, Johanna Sjoberg. She claims he touched her breast inside the US billionaire’s Manhattan apartment in 2001. Buckingham Palace said the allegations were “categorically untrue”.
On 10 August, Epstein is found dead in his jail cell, having killed himself after being charged with sex trafficking.
A pilot on Epstein’s private jet later that month claims Andrew was a passenger on past flights with the financier and Roberts
(November 20, 2019)
Prince Andrew announces he is to step back from public duties 'for foreseeable future'.
A source close to Andrew is reported as saying: “The duke is not under any obligation to talk to lawyers representing alleged victims of Epstein at the moment, but he is totally willing to talk to any law enforcement agencies, be they the police or FBI.”
Any FBI interview Andrew agrees to give would be voluntary at this stage. Should he be willing to comply with a request, his lawyers would arrange a date, time and place to speak to them, or he could provide answers to written questions. US investigators could interview him in the UK.
Should he refuse any interview, the US authorities could make a mutual legal assistance request to the UK, a formal process that allows cooperation between states when evidence needs to be gathered in a prosecution or investigation of criminal offences.
Any MLA would have to be approved by the Home Office. If approved, Andrew could have to appear in a UK court.
If the FBI was treating him as a witness it could ask for him to be compelled to go to a UK court to give evidence under oath. If he was being treated as a potential suspect, or received legal advice he might incriminate himself, he would have privilege against self-incrimination.
It would be up to the judge in the UK to decide if the hearing was in open court.
If prosecutors wanted to extradite Andrew, they would have to obtain an arrest warrant or a grand jury indictment to make a request to the UK.
Andrew has denied witnessing any suspicious behaviour by Epstein.