PETER FROST charts the Duke of York’s links with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein
THE Morning Star usually has far better things to fill its columns than royal tittle-tattle but the latest reports of the behaviour of Prince Andrew, the Duke of York and brother of the prince waiting to be king, are just too disgusting to be ignored.
Due only to a quirk of the US justice system we now hear accusations that Prince Andrew — universally known in the tabloid press as Randy Andy — has been at it with underage prostitutes supplied to him by his best friend, golf partner and major financial sponsor the convicted pimp and child abuser Jeffrey Epstein.
One woman in the Florida case known in court as Jane Doe 3 is actually Virginia Roberts and the link between her and the prince has been public knowledge since the emergence of a photograph of them both from 2001.
That photograph was published in newspapers and magazines all over the world and widely on the internet but the British media deferentially censored itself to protect the prince.
The picture shows the 40-year-old father of two with his arm cradling the bare midriff of 17-year-old self-confessed teenage prostitute Roberts. It is Roberts who is making the latest accusations.
The picture was taken in the London luxury flat of Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of the disgraced newspaper boss Robert Maxwell. Roberts has claimed to a Florida court that she and Prince Andrew had sex that night after they returned from a Mayfair nightclub.
Roberts goes on to claim that she had sex with the prince on many other occasions.
She says that she met Prince Andrew at Epstein’s apartment in New York and later on his private Caribbean island. She also says that she witnessed the Duke of York enjoying sexual encounters with other young women provided by Epstein.
There are further accusations too. Epstein’s former employee Juan Alessi says that Prince Andrew attended naked swimming pool parties at the billionaire’s Florida mansion in the early 2000s where a harem of adolescent girls offered massages and more.
In sworn testimony in 2011, Alessi described Epstein’s house as being full of pictures of naked young women.
Later the prince was invited to holiday in Thailand on Epstein’s yacht. Holiday snaps show him on deck surrounded by topless young women.
So what did Andrew offer the Floridian billionaire banker Epstein in return? We know that the US billionaire and Ghislaine Maxwell were among guests on pheasant shoots at Royal Sandringham.
Prince Andrew invited Epstein to visit various royal palaces including Sandringham, Balmoral and Windsor Castle as a guest of the Queen.
As happens with any royal scandal, the British Establishment has not been slow to react. Emphatic denials have come from the palace.
The well-trained army of lackeys, media manipulators and supposedly respectable Establishment figures have started the whitewash with outraged press briefings declaring our royal prince as white as the driven snow.
Quite recently the royal family have sought and been granted protection from freedom of information legislation.
It is clear that they and other Establishment figures are more interested in the royal reputation than in truth and justice.
Despite that we need to demand that the palace explain the exact relationship between the prince and the crim
inal Epstein. Were they just friends? Did they ever have wider business or financial links?
Most importantly was the prince involved in Epstein’s criminal paedophile behaviour?
We know that in 2005, US police began investigating Epstein’s abuse and grooming of underage girls. As with Jimmy Savile here in Britain, it had been going on for years.
In 2006, the FBI opened an investigation. It identified 40 young women who may have been illegally procured by Epstein.
The billionaire could afford the best of lawyers. In 2008 the federal inquiry was dropped after Epstein negotiated a deal with prosecutors in which he agreed to plead guilty to a relatively minor state charge relating to soliciting paid sex with a minor — a 14-year-old girl.
He served just 13 months of an 18-month sentence and is now a registered sex offender. Many felt that Epstein had got off excessively lightly.
Many of his alleged victims have since reached out-of-court settlements with Epstein, who was among the wealthiest investment bankers in the world.
However, two of Epstein’s alleged victims, referred to in court documents as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2, have brought a lawsuit arguing that federal prosecutors violated a victims’ rights statute by failing to consult them over Epstein’s secret plea bargain deal.
Now others, including Roberts, have joined the private lawsuit. Roberts claims that Prince Andrew was among those who tried to persuade the authorities to give Epstein a more favourable plea arrangement and/or non-prosecution agreement.
Official records show that Prince Andrew met British ambassador to Washington Sir David Manning in September 2006, and also the then Foreign Office minister Kim Howells in July 2005.
Were these high-level negotiations to discuss Epstein’s case? Was the duke trying to use his influence to get his old mate off the hook?
In 2010, after Epstein had been imprisoned for soliciting girls for underage prostitution, the Duke of York’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson agreed to accept a gift of £15,000 from him in order to help clear her debts.
Despite their divorce the prince and his ex-wife have always been close. She had been exposed selling introductions to her ex-husband for large fees.
It seems unlikely that Andrew didn’t know about the gift from Epstein to Fergie. Indeed he may well have organised it.
To add insult to injury, shortly after Epstein was freed from prison, the British press published a photograph of the convicted paedophile strolling with Prince Andrew in New York’s Central Park (below).
That photograph caused widespread outrage. The picture led to the prince’s resignation as Britain’s roving trade ambassador, a job that saw the duke jetsetting around the globe doing dodgy arms deals with some very dodgy dictators.
We should not forget that all of Randy Andy’s travels are paid for by you and me.
Even in the year after he had been sacked as trade ambassador he claimed a third of a million pounds in travel expenses from the public purse. Those huge claims go on.
Despite the fact that he has a personal fortune of over £50 million and owns several London restaurants and a London women’s football team, you and I still pay the duke a personal annual allowance of a quarter of a million pounds. In addition he gets a palace to live in and his many staff salaries paid.
Perhaps that and the many millions that he and the rest of the royal family cost all of us every year is the real scandal.
This article first appeared in the Morning Star 9 January 2015