Prince Andrew accused of hiding from US prosecutors after Ghislaine Maxwell arrest
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Prince Andrew today faced calls to “be a man” and speak to US prosecutors about billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein after socialite Ghislaine Maxwell appeared in a court charged with sex trafficking.
The Duke of York faces claims he is “avoiding and evading” the American authorities over his friendships with Maxwell and Epstein, amid allegations a 17-year-old was told to have sex with him in 2001.
British socialite Maxwell was detained yesterday by the FBI at a mansion on the east coast of America as it was revealed she faces criminal charges for allegedly playing a key role in Epstein’s abuse of young girls and is said to have groomed them before taking them to the financier’s homes.
Spencer Kuvin, a lawyer who represents victims in a civil lawsuit against Epstein’s estate, this morning accused Andrew of “hiding” behind the royal family and his legal team, insisting he must reveal what he knows.
Prince Andrew and Maxwell (BBC PANORAMA)
He called on Andrew to tell all about his friendships with the pair.
“I certainly think Prince Andrew has a story to tell,” Mr Kuvin told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “On behalf of the victims we have continuously asked him to step forward, step up, be a man and tell us what he knows. He has been hiding behind not only the royal family but his attorneys.”
Andrew, who denies any wrongdoing, has been accused of having sex with Virginia Roberts, now Giuffre, after she was allegedly trafficked to Maxwell’s London home aged 17.
Maxwell, Prince Andrew and Virginia Roberts at Maxwell’s London townhouse in 2001;
“Regardless of his position we, on behalf of the victims, hope that he will step forward and speak up about what he witnessed, at the very least when he was visiting the [Epstein] mansion in New York, when he visited the home in Palm Beach and when we know he was down visiting the Virgin Islands’ mansion,” Mr Kuvin added.
US lawyer Gloria Allred, who is also representing some of Epstein’s victims, accused Andrew of subjecting the women to a “torture test” by not speaking out about “what he knows”.
“The question is, Prince Andrew, when is he going to tell what he knows?” she told ITV’s Good Morning Britain, suggesting the royal is “avoiding and evading” US authorities by not providing a statement. “He needs to do it without delay. It is so traumatising and difficult for the victims not to know the truth.”
Mrs Giuffre reacted to news of Maxwell’s arrest by calling her an “insidious creature” on Twitter, saying: “Hope the judge throws the book at her. So so so happy — she’s finally where she belongs.”
Epstein with Maxwell in 2005 (Getty Images)
She is not one of the alleged victims in the criminal case, but claims she was told to have sex with a string of prominent men, having met Maxwell while working as a spa attendant at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. She claims to have been groomed by Maxwell and Epstein, and alleges she was told to have sex with Prince Andrew at Maxwell’s Belgravia home in March 2001.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson refused to say this morning how the Government would respond if US prosecutors asked to interview Andrew, insisting it is “a matter for the royal family”. Andrew’s representatives insist he offered to speak to US prosecutors but his approaches were ignored.
A source close to Andrew said: “The duke’s team remains bewildered given that we have twice communicated with the Department of Justice in the last month and to date we have had no response.”
Epstein was arrested last year for a slew of sex charges and killed himself in prison while awaiting trial.
Maxwell, the daughter of press baron Robert Maxwell, went into hiding when news of the charges against Epstein broke and has rarely been seen in the last year. She sought privacy with the purchase of a $1 million home (£800,000) in the quiet town of Bradford, New Hampshire, last December.
However, Bill Sweeney, of the FBI, said last night they had been “keeping tabs” on her, revealing: “We learned she had slithered away to a gorgeous property in New Hampshire, continuing to live the life of privilege while her victims live with the trauma inflicted upon them years ago.” Mr Kuvin said Maxwell appears to have had access to a web of bank accounts containing up to $20 million each, and suggested this morning that she and Epstein had run an “illicit sexual pyramid scheme”.
He predicted that Maxwell’s legal team will rely on a 2008 deal — struck when Epstein was first prosecuted for sexual offences — to argue that she is entitled to immunity. “Our hope is that will be thrown aside and she will be fully prosecuted,” he said.
According to the indictment revealed yesterday, Maxwell is accused of grooming girls as young as 14 between 1994 and 1997.
Maxwell, who denies wrongdoing, is also accused of perjury in depositions she gave to a New York court in 2016. She appeared in a New Hampshire court via videolink from custody. A judge ordered that she be taken to a New York court where the criminal charges are laid and where she will be able to apply for bail.