Prince Andrew has opened up for the first time
to defend his former friendship with US financier Jeffrey Epstein, saying
“at no stage” did he “see or suspect” any criminal behavior.
Jeffrey Epstein, 66, took his own life in a jail cell this month while
awaiting trial on trafficking charges.
In a statement, Prince Andrew said he wanted to “clarify the
facts” around his “former association or friendship” with
The Duke of York, 59, said it was a “mistake” to meet Epstein
after he left prison in 2010.
He said: “During the time I knew
him, I saw him infrequently and probably no more than only once or twice a year.
“I have stayed in a number of his
residences. At no stage during the limited time I spent with him did I see,
witness or suspect any behavior of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest
Prince Andrew – who said he first met Jeffrey Epstein in 1999 – added that
he had “tremendous sympathy” for all those affected by Epstein’s
The duke said: “His suicide has
left many unanswered questions and I acknowledge and sympathize with everyone
who has been affected and wants some form of closure.”
Allegations against Jeffrey Epstein
began to surface in 2005 when the parents of a 14-year-old girl told police in
Florida he had molested their daughter at his Palm Beach home.
The financier was accused of paying
underage girls to perform s** acts at his Manhattan and Florida mansions
between 2002 and 2005.
A controversial secret plea deal saw
Jeffrey Eptstein plead guilty to a lesser charge of soliciting a minor for
prostitution. The tycoon received an 18-month prison sentence and was released
on probation in 2010.
Prince Andrew was photographed with Jeffrey
Epstein in New York’s Central Park in late 2010 – after the financier was
released from jail.
Footage has also emerged reportedly
showing Prince Andrew at Epstein’s mansion in Manhattan in 2010.
In the statement, released on August 24, the prince added: “I have said previously that it was a
mistake and an error to see him after his release in 2010 and I can only
reiterate my regret that I was mistaken to think that what I thought I knew of
him was evidently not the real person, given what we now know.
“This is a difficult time for everyone
involved and I am at a loss to be able to understand or explain Mr. Epstein’s
“I deplore the exploitation of
any human being and would not condone, participate in, or encourage any such
In July 2019, Jeffrey Epstein was charged in New York with further
allegations of trafficking and conspiracy and was due to face trial next year.
Jeffrey pleaded not guilty to all the charges but if convicted, was facing up to 45 years in prison.
Queen Elizabeth’s son, Prince Andrew, was named this week in an ongoing US lawsuit brought by a group of women who claim they were trafficked to the world’s rich and powerful as part of an alleged underage “s** slave” ring run by American investment banker Jeffrey Epstein.
The allegation, found in a court filing this week, prompted Buckingham Palace to issue an unusual statement to the Guardian, noting that the allegation surfaced in “long-running and ongoing civil proceedings in the US to which the Duke of York is not a party”.
The statement continues: “As such we would not comment in detail. However, for the avoidance of doubt, any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue.”
As part of a 2008 plea deal with prosecutors, Jeffrey Epstein spent 13 months in prison on a state charge of soliciting prostitutes. According to unsealed documents pertaining to that deal, Jeffrey Epstein was the subject of a federal investigation probing allegations that the powerful figure abused dozens of underage girls at his Palm Beach mansion. The deal effectively allowed him to avoid potential federal charges stemming from the investigation.
The lawsuit, filed by two anonymous alleged victims, charges federal prosecutors with violating a statute by not consulting with them before finalizing the plea deal. The latest filing is a motion to expand that existing case to include the allegations of two more women.
The two women named Prince Andrew, Alan Dershowitz and other powerful associates of Jeffrey Epstein as participants in the alleged abuse ring.
It’s the first time Prince Andrew’s name has appeared in a court document alleging that he abused Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged victims.
According to the Guardian, this isn’t the first time Prince Andrew’s name has been linked publicly to the allegations against Jeffrey Epstein.
Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein were friends for years — before, during and after the banker served time in prison.