FBI's Epstein probe gets 'zero cooperation' from Prince Andrew: law enforcement source




  • In US
  • 2020-01-27 17:28:40Z
  • By Reuters
Britain
Britain's Prince Andrew leaves St. Mary the Virgin church in Hillington  

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Britain's Prince Andrew has provided "zero cooperation" to the FBI investigation into the activities and death of Jeffrey Epstein, a U.S. law enforcement source said on Monday.

The FBI requested an interview with Andrew, who socialized with Epstein, Manhattan-based U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman publicly confirmed at a meeting of a group which supports battered women, the source said, but did not say when the request was made.

Buckingham Palace did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's probe is focusing on British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, a longtime associate of Epstein, and others who facilitated wealthy financier's alleged trafficking of underage girls, law enforcement sources told Reuters in December.

Maxwell has not been accused of criminal wrongdoing.

Andrew said in November he would be willing to help "any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required."

U.S. court papers have previously shown that Epstein had socialized with Andrew and other high-profile figures including U.S. President Donald Trump and former president Bill Clinton.

Epstein's suicide in August, at age 66, came a little over a month after he was arrested and charged with trafficking dozens of underage girls as young as 14 from at least 2002 to 2005. Prosecutors said he recruited girls to give him massages, which became sexual in nature. Epstein had pleaded not guilty.

In 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty to a Florida state charge of soliciting prostitution. He completed a 13-month jail sentence that was widely criticized as too lenient.

Andrew has described his association with Epstein as "ill-judged" and in November the prince stepped down from public duties as the allegations became a distraction for the royal family.

Andrew, Queen Elizabeth's second son, has denied an allegation in a civil lawsuit from Virginia Giuffre, who claims she had sex with the prince when she was 17 in an encounter arranged through Epstein.

Giuffre's lawsuit said Maxwell recruited her into Epstein's circle and Epstein forced her to have sex with him and friends including Andrew.

Despite Epstein's death, investigations continue into potential accomplices.

In December, sources told Reuters, law enforcement did not plan at that time to interview Andrew, although the investigation was said to be at an early stage.

The FBI has been following up on leads received from women who contacted a hotline the agency set up at its New York field office in the wake of Epstein's arrest in July, the sources said in December.

This month, the attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands sued Epstein's estate claiming he raped and trafficked dozens of young women and girls on a private island he owned in the territory.

The complaint filed by Virgin Islands Attorney General Denise George significantly broadened the scope of the financier's alleged misconduct, saying it spanned from 2001 to 2018 and targeted girls who appeared to be as young as 11 or 12.

The Virgin Islands is seeking civil penalties plus some assets from Epstein's estimated $577.7 million estate, including the forfeiture of his two private islands, Little St. James and Great St. James.


(Reporting by Timothy Ahmann and Mark Hosenball in Washington and Kylie MacLellan and Janet Lawrence in London; writing by Tom Hals; editing by Jonathan Oatis, Bill Berkrot and David Gregorio)

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