Prince Andrew ‘vulnerable to extradition’ as investigation into Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse continues

Lizzie Dearden
People are calling on the Prince to show more sympathy to Epstein's victims: BBC

Prince Andrew is “vulnerable to extradition” over his links to Jeffrey Epstein following a widely-condemned interview, a lawyer has said.

Calls are mounting for the 59-year-old royal to give a voluntary statement to the FBI, which is continuing its investigation of the ex-financier’s sexual abuse of teenage girls despite his death in prison.

In an interview with the BBC, the Duke of York denied having sex with one of Epstein’s victims and claimed he never suspected his former friend’s behaviour.

The prince suggested he was closer to Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite who has denied procuring young victims for Epstein.

Spencer Kuvin, a lawyer representing some of Epstein’s victims, said his admissions could be used in any future cross-examination by US authorities.

Mr Kuvin called on the prince to allow himself to be voluntarily interviewed, and to apologise for the “breadth of his relationship with this despicable man”.

The lawyer said representatives from the US attorney’s office met some of Epstein’s victims in Florida last month to tell them that they were investigating alleged co-conspirators.

“[Prince Andrew] said he was closest with Ms Maxwell and I believe she is under investigation now as a co-conspirator,” Mr Kuvin told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“Unfortunately my clients are not very hopeful. They have been wronged by the system now going on 12, almost 13 years. They have been promised that justice would prevail but every single time it comes around the system fails them.”

Legal experts have said that the prince is not entitled to any form of immunity from the US investigation by virtue of his position as a member of the royal family.

If American prosecutors formally accuse the Queen’s son of a crime relating to the case, they may lodge a request for his extradition.

Anna Rothwell, a solicitor at Corker Binning, said: “His friendship with the convicted sex offender Epstein is under investigation by the FBI and he is vulnerable to extradition.

“It is therefore very unwise for the prince to give any account to the media, especially one which so starkly exposes the closeness of his relationship with Epstein, and again betrays yet another appalling lack of judgment.”

Gloria Allred, a lawyer representing other alleged victims, said the prince had confirmed he visited three of Epstein’s homes in New York, in Palm Beach, in the Virgin Islands.

“I happen to know there were underage girls in all of those locations,” she told Good Morning Britain.

Asked what questions she would like to ask, Ms Allred said she wanted to know “Who helped to recruit underage girls for Epstein to be sexually assaulted, who was in the chain, who assisted, who knowingly conspired with Epstein to traffic – to sex traffic – these children to Epstein.”

People were calling on the Prince to show more sympathy to Epstein’s victims (BBC)

During his BBC interview, the prince insisted he did not know of Epstein’s abuse and that “people behave in a subtly different way” around royalty.

When asked how he could have stayed with Epstein and not realised what was happening, he said he assumed “a lot of people who were walking around Epstein’s house” were staff because that was what he was accustomed to at Buckingham Palace.

Asked if he would give a statement under oath, the duke replied: “If push came to shove and the legal advice was to do so, then I would be duty-bound to do so.“

He was heavily criticised for failing to take the opportunity to apologise to victims, instead insisting that he did not regret his friendship with Epstein because it had some ”seriously beneficial outcomes“, including meeting people who helped him prepare for a future role as a trade envoy.

Jo Swinson, the Liberal Democrat leader, said it was “disheartening” to see the prince fail to express any sympathy for Epstein’s victims.

“I just couldn’t quite understand how somebody could be talking about their relationship with that man without recognising, or understanding, or discussing how he felt about those victims,” she added.

“I felt they should have been much more at the centre of that discussion.”

Andrew denied having sex with with Virginia Giuffre, one of 16 women who claim they were abused by Epstein, on three separate occasions, adding that one alleged encounter in 2001 could not have happened because he took his daughter to Pizza Express in Woking on that date.

The same alleged sexual liaison, which the American said began with the royal sweating heavily as they danced at London nightclub Tramp, was factually wrong, the duke said, as he had a medical condition at the time which meant he did not sweat.

The duke also cast doubt on the authenticity of a picture that appears to show him with his arm around the waist of Ms Giuffre at Ms Maxwell’s London townhouse, saying he had ”no recollection“ of meeting her.

“It is a photograph of a photograph of a photograph,” the prince said. “So it’s very difficult to be able to prove it but I don’t remember that photograph ever being taken.”

He added he was “not that close” with Epstein and that he only stayed at his house “because of his girlfriend” Ms Maxwell.

Ms Giuffre’s allegations were struck from US civil court records in 2015 after a judge said they were “immaterial and impertinent”.

The prince said he had no knowledge that Epstein had been charged with sex offences when he was invited to Princess Beatrice’s 18th birthday party at Windsor Castle in 2006.

He said in 2006 he broke off contact with the financier for four years when he learnt he was under investigation.

The duke justified going back to see Epstein in 2010 after the 66-year-old had been released from an 18-month prison term for prostituting minors by saying he was cutting off their friendship.

The US Department of Justice and FBI have not yet responded to The Independent’s request for comment on whether the prince is a subject of interest in the ongoing investigation.

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