Prince Andrew has said he is “bewildered” by claims that he has ignored requests from the FBI to cooperate with their investigation into convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
A source close to the Duke of York told City A.M. he had “twice communicated” with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) in the last month, but has had “no response” to date.
It comes as Epstein’s former girlfriend and confidante Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested today and charged with the “sexual exploitation and abuse of multiple minor girls” as part of an investigation into the convicted sex offender.
New York prosecutors today filed a six-charge indictment against the British socialite and heiress, including participating in sexual abuse and two counts of perjury.
Audrey Strauss, US attorney for the southern district of New York, said at a news conference today that she would “welcome Prince Andrew coming in to talk with us”.
The Duke of York has previously claimed to have reached out to the DOJ three times, after FBI officials repeatedly said he was unwilling to cooperate.
The royal has known Maxwell, daughter of British newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell, since her university days.
The Duke of York was thrust into the spotlight earlier this year after Virginia Giuffre Roberts accused Maxwell of introducing her to Prince Andrew when she was 16.
Roberts claimed she had sex with Prince Andrew after a night of partying that had been facilitated by Maxwell in her London flat. Maxwell said Roberts’ allegations were untrue, and Roberts filed a defamation suit against Maxwell in response. Prince Andrew has repeatedly denied the claims.
New York’s US attorney today said that “Maxwell and Epstein worked together,” and that “some of the acts of abuse took place in Maxwell’s residence in London”.
In a TV interview with Emily Maitlis on the BBC last year following the allegations, Prince Andrew was questioned about his links with Maxwell several times.
The prince said: “Remember that it was [Epstein’s] girlfriend that was the key element in this. He was, the, as it were, plus one, to some extent in that aspect.”
The Duke also talked about arranging a “straightforward shooting weekend” for Maxwell at the Queen’s Sandringham estate in 2000.
Prince Andrew was pictured accompanying Maxwell at further private parties and celebrity functions both in the UK and in the US that year.
They were photographed together at the wedding of the prince’s former girlfriend, Aurelia Cecil, near Salisbury in Wiltshire in September 2000, and later at a Halloween party thrown by model Heidi Klum in Manhattan.
Asked by Maitlis when he had last seen Maxwell, Prince Andrew said he saw “before July” last year.
Prince Andrew stepped back from his royal duties earlier this year.
Prosecutors have said Maxwell faces up to 35 years in prison.