Prince Andrew demands US ‘olive branch’ before he will speak over request to question him about Jeffrey Epstein
- Last week the US authorities formally asked the UK to interview Prince Andrew
- The Duke said he had already offered to help as a witness in the Epstein case
- But the US attorney leading the investigation claimed the Duke had done this
Prince Andrew will refuse to deal further with the US Department of Justice over its request to question him about paedophile Jeffrey Epstein until he is offered an ‘olive branch’.
A war of words broke out last week after the US authorities wrote to the Home Office to ask formally to interview the Duke of York about his relationship with the disgraced American financier.
The Duke said he had already offered his help as a witness and accused US prosecutors of breaking confidentially rules and issuing ‘complete lies’.
Prince Andrew (pictured) will refuse to deal further with the US Department of Justice over its request to question him about paedophile Jeffrey Epstein until he is offered an ‘olive branch’.
But Geoffrey Berman (pictured), the US attorney leading the investigation, claimed that Andrew had sought to ‘falsely portray himself as eager and willing to co-operate’
But Geoffrey Berman, the US attorney leading the investigation, claimed that Andrew had sought to ‘falsely portray himself as eager and willing to co-operate’.
Last night, in a new furious salvo, a source close to the Duke of York told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Until there’s an olive branch from the Department of Justice [DoJ] and an attempt to establish trust, we can’t deal with them.
‘The DoJ has been painting an entirely inaccurate picture and this third time was enough. Three strikes and you’re out. There have been three provable breaches in the DoJ’s own rules [in talking about cases] while the Duke has played a straight bat out of respect for the rules and the process.
‘There is no way the Duke’s lawyers can recommend an engagement with the DoJ when they’re breaking the rules. They need to do something to start rebuilding trust.’
The stalemate between the Prince and the US authorities leaves the Government with a headache.
The US request was received by the Home Office in April and a response is normally made in 30 days. If it is granted, Andrew could potentially be summonsed to appear at Westminster magistrates’ court to be interviewed.
Commentators believe the Duke’s performance in last year’s disastrous Newsnight interview has made him cautious about giving a face-to-face interview.
US attorney Renato Mariotti, who was a state prosecutor for ten years, said: ‘What the federal prosecutors would expect is that they would be able to question Prince Andrew themselves, without giving any questions in advance and have the opportunity for follow-up.
‘A written statement, which is what Prince Andrew seems to be offering, would not be sufficient. He wants to be able to say publicly he is co-operating without giving the federal authorities what they want. The DoJ have called Prince Andrew a liar and that is very unusual. The language was very pointed and blunt, which again is unusual.
‘I think they want to pressure him to either work out a deal or go into court and plead the Fifth [Amendment]. This is fraught with huge diplomatic issues and it goes beyond Prince Andrew. One would think the UK and US governments would discuss this and work out a solution.’
Epstein (pictured) was found dead last year in a New York prison cell, where he was being held on charges of sex-trafficking girls as young as 14. Andrew had known the billionaire since 1999 and stayed at several of his homes
Epstein was found dead last year in a New York prison cell, where he was being held on charges of sex-trafficking girls as young as 14. Andrew had known the billionaire since 1999 and stayed at several of his homes.
Andrew, 60, has been accused of having sex three times with Virginia Roberts, a young woman provided by Epstein. He categorically denies the claims and any suggestion of wrongdoing.
The Duke has assembled a ‘working group’ of advisers including extradition expert Clare Montgomery QC; specialist defence barrister Stephen Ferguson; Gary Bloxsome, a criminal defence solicitor who has defended British troops against war crime allegations; and PR supremo Mark Gallagher, a former director of corporate affairs and chief of staff at ITV.
The Queen is understood to be picking up the bill, which is thought to run to tens of thousands every month. Ms Montgomery is said to charge up to £1,000 an hour. Last night, Mr Berman declined to comment.
Aristocrat wife’s 32 flights on the ‘Lolita Express’
By Jake Ryan and Chris White
Clare Hazell (pictured) took 32 flights on the Boeing 727 between 1998 and 2000, including trips to the paedophile’s luxury homes in New York, Florida, the Caribbean and New Mexico between 1998 and 2000
The wife of an aristocrat whose family are worth £900 million flew more than 30 times on Jeffrey Epstein ‘Lolita Express’ private jet, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Clare Hazell, left, took 32 flights on the Boeing 727 between 1998 and 2000, including trips to the paedophile’s luxury homes in New York, Florida, the Caribbean and New Mexico between 1998 and 2000.
She became the Countess of Iveagh in 2001 when she married Edward Guinness, 4th Earl of Iveagh and a member of the famous brewing dynasty.
Her contact details were listed in Epstein’s infamous ‘little black book’ under her married name, Clare Hazell-Iveagh.
According to flight logs, Epstein accompanied her on all but one of the trips. Ghislaine Maxwell, the socialite friend of the shamed US financier, was also a passenger on some of the flights. While there is no suggestion that the Countess was involved in, or had any knowledge of, any criminal activity or wrongdoing, lawyers for some of Epstein’s victims are understood to have approached her as a possible witness.
Epstein used his jet to ferry a host of famous people – including former US President Bill Clinton, actor Kevin Spacey and Prince Andrew– around the globe. Pictured: Bill Clinton and Ghislaine Maxwell posing together for the camera as the pair prepare to board Jeffrey Epstein’s notorious private jet
In an interview, Maria Farmer, 50, who was employed and then abused by Epstein, recalled meeting the future countess, saying: ‘She liked having nice drinks, piles of cash and nice outfits.’
Epstein used his jet to ferry a host of famous people – including former US President Bill Clinton, actor Kevin Spacey and Prince Andrew– around the globe.
The Countess did not respond to requests for comment.
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