Prince Andrew appalled by Epsteins sex abuse claims

Prince Andrew, left, and Jeffrey Epstein in New York's Central ParkImage copyright
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Prince Andrew, left, has previously been criticised for his association with Jeffrey Epstein

Prince Andrew has said he is “appalled” by sex abuse claims surrounding his former friend Jeffrey Epstein.

It comes after the Mail on Sunday published footage that claimed to show the Duke of York inside the financier’s Manhattan mansion in 2010.

Epstein, 66, took his own life in a jail cell while awaiting federal trial for sex trafficking.

He socialised with Prince Andrew, President Donald Trump and former President Bill Clinton in the past.

A Buckingham Palace statement said: “The Duke of York has been appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged crimes.

“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.”

Epstein pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking and conspiracy charges last month and was being held without bail.

He was accused of paying girls under the age of 18 to perform sex acts at his Manhattan and Florida mansions between 2002 and 2005.

Epstein avoided federal charges in 2008 – which could have seen him face life in prison – and instead pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of soliciting a minor for prostitution in a controversial plea deal.

He received an 18-month prison sentence, during which he was able to go on “work release” to his office for 12 hours a day, six days a week. He was released on probation after 13 months.

The duke was photographed with Epstein in New York’s Central Park in 2010 and his former friendship with Mr Epstein attracted criticism at the time.

Prince Andrew quit his role as a UK trade envoy in 2011.

Buckingham Palace has previously denied claims the duke groped a woman in Epstein’s US home.

The accusation was made in documents from a 2015 defamation case.

Contained in the defamation case papers is an allegation by a woman called Johanna Sjoberg that Prince Andrew touched her breast while they sat on a couch in Epstein’s Manhattan apartment in 2001.

According to court filings, another of Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Roberts, claimed she was forced to have sex with the prince on three occasions – in London, New York and on a private Caribbean island owned by Epstein – between 1999 and 2002, when she was under-age according to US law.

But Buckingham Palace has branded the allegations “false and without any foundation”, stating: “Any suggestion of impropriety with under-age minors” by the duke was “categorically untrue”.

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