Prince Andrew accused of 'zero cooperation' in Epstein case
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New York (AFP)
Prince Andrew has provided "zero cooperation" regarding late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and has yet to respond to a FBI request for an interview, a US prosecutor said Monday.
Andrew denies claims he had sex with a 17-year-old girl procured by Epstein and said in November he was "willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required."
But New York attorney Geoffrey Berman, who is leading an investigation into possible co-conspirators of the disgraced US financier, said his office and the FBI had not heard from Andrew despite his offer to assist.
"To date, Prince Andrew has provided zero cooperation," Berman told reporters during a news conference outside Epstein's former New York home where Andrew has admitted staying at in the past.
Buckingham Palace did not immediately respond to request for comment when contacted by AFP.
Queen Elizabeth II's second son was forced to step back from royal duties after he faced outrage over an interview with the BBC late last year in which he defended his friendship with Epstein.
Andrew, 59, also denied having sexual relations with Virginia Giuffre, who alleges she was trafficked to have sex with friends of Epstein when she was 17.
Epstein, 66, killed himself in a New York jail last summer while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.
He was a multi-millionaire hedge fund manager who befriended countless celebrities over the years, including US President Donald Trump.
Epstein was charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and another of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors.
He denied the charges but was facing up to 45 years in jail if found guilty.
- 'Ill-judged association' -
Determined to obtain justice despite his death, dozens of women who say they were abused by Epstein have sued his estate and prosecutors have pledged to pursue any accomplices.
"Jeffrey Epstein couldn't have done what he did without the assistance of others and I can assure you that our investigation is moving forward," Berman said Monday.
Giuffre says she had sex with the prince at the central London home of Epstein's socialite girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell in 2001.
In what proved to be a disastrous BBC interview, Andrew said he did not remember meeting Giuffre and that he "absolutely and categorically" did not have sex with her.
Afterwards he issued a statement in which he said he "I... unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein."
While Epstein's death has been ruled a suicide -- with two prison guards charged for alleged failure to monitor him -- it has also fueled conspiracy theories, mostly speculating he was murdered to stop him revealing compromising information about wealthy acquaintances.
Several of Epstein's accusers have said Maxwell recruited them to provide sexual favors for Epstein and some of his associates.
Epstein was convicted in Florida in 2008 of paying young girls for massages but served just 13 months in jail under a secret plea deal struck with the then state prosecutor.
© 2020 AFP