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Prince Andrew says he had no knowledge of Jeffrey Epstein's behaviour

Since Epstein’s death, Prince Andrew has come under intense scrutiny over his relationship with the disgraced US financier.

Prince Andrew, Duke of York
Prince Andrew, Duke of York
Image: PA Images

BRITAIN’S PRINCE ANDREW has said that “at no stage” during his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein did he see or suspect any criminal behaviour. 

US financier Epstein was found dead on 10 August in a federal jail in Manhattan as he awaited trial charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors. A coroner ruled that he died by suicide.

Since Epstein’s death, the British royal has come under intense scrutiny over his relationship with Epstein. In a statement today, the prince said he was “eager to clarify the facts to avoid further speculation. 

“I met Mr Epstein in 1999. 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 behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction.

“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. I have tremendous sympathy for all those affected by his actions and behaviour.

“His suicide has left many unanswered questions and I acknowledge and sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure.

“This is a difficult time for everyone involved and I am at a loss to be able to understand or explain Mr Epstein’s lifestyle. I deplore the exploitation of any human being and would not condone, participate in, or encourage any such behaviour.”

‘Abhorrent behaviour’

On Monday, the Prince said he was “appalled” by allegations of sexual abuse surrounding Jeffrey Epstein after a video was released purporting to show him at the home of the convicted paedophile in 2010.

“His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behaviour is abhorrent,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement, reported the Press Association news agency.

The video published by the Mail on Sunday claims to show the prince waving goodbye to a woman as she departs Epstein’s New York mansion in 2010.

Over the years, the financier hobnobbed with politicians, socialites and celebrities, including Donald Trump before he was president and Bill Clinton.

Virginia Giuffre — previously Virginia Roberts — one of Epstein’s alleged victims, testified in 2016 that she had sex with Prince Andrew when she was underage, an allegation Buckingham Palace has repeatedly and strenuously denied.

Prince Andrew was the UK’s special representative for international trade and investment for 10 years until 2011, when he gave up the post following intense scrutiny over his relationships with Epstein and other controversial figures.

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