Prince Andrew says he is “bewildered” by US justice officials’ claims that he has not offered to cooperate with their investigation into convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
Lawyers for the Duke of York said they have “twice communicated” with the US Department of Justice in the past month, but “to date, we have had no response”.
It comes after Audrey Strauss, acting US attorney for the southern district of New York, said that she would “welcome Prince Andrew coming in to talk with us”, during a news conference held after the arrest of Epstein’s ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell today.
The Duke of York has previously claimed to have reached out to the DOJ three times after US officials said he has been consistently unwilling to cooperate.
Prince Andrew has known Maxwell, the British socialite and daughter of media tycoon Robert Maxwell, since her university days.
In his only television interview about his links to Epstein, she is mentioned over a dozen times.
It was Maxwell, Epstein’s girlfriend at the time, who introduced Prince Andrew to Epstein in 1999, and it was because of her that Epstein spent time at royal properties, including Windsor Castle and Sandringham.
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In the interview with the BBC, the prince said: “Remember that it was his girlfriend that was the key element in this. He was the, as it were, plus one, to some extent in that aspect.”
Prince Andrew also talked about organising for her, not a birthday party, but “a straightforward shooting weekend” at Sandringham, to which Epstein was invited.
Maxwell is also one of the main figures mentioned in the allegations made against Prince Andrew by Virginia Giuffre Roberts, who claims she was introduced to and subsequently had sex with the prince when she was 17-years-old.
Mrs Giuffre Roberts claims she met the prince during a trip to London with Maxwell and Epstein in 2001, and that the meeting happened at Maxwell’s house.
She claims the photograph of her with Prince Andrew was taken at the house in Belgravia. Ghislaine can be seen in the back of the photograph.
Prince Andrew has strenuously denied the claims. In the interview, he said he had no recollection of meeting Mrs Giuffre Roberts.
During his interview in November, Prince Andrew confirmed the last time he saw Maxwell was last spring or summer, “before July” he said
But he said they had not talked about Epstein, who at the time had been arrested and was facing charges of sex trafficking.
Epstein’s victims have claimed that Maxwell was complicit in his behaviour.
Ghislaine Maxwell arrested and charged over sexual exploitation of underage girls by Jeffrey Epstein
When Prince Andrew was asked if he thought she had questions to answer about her role, the Prince said: “If there are questions that Ghislaine has to answer, that’s her problem I’m afraid, I’m not in a position to be able to comment one way or the other.”
Last month, Prince Andrew’s legal team released a statement denying allegations from law enforcement agencies in America that he was unwilling to talk to them regarding Epstein, saying he had offered to talk to them on three separate occasions.
They want to talk to the prince as a witness, not as a suspect.
The Duke of York’s legal representatives have said they are not commenting on this latest development regarding the arrest of Maxwell.