London: Lawyers representing alleged victims of the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein on Tuesday urged Britain’s Prince Andrew to help US investigators, after a prosecutor said he had given “zero cooperation”.
US lawyer Gloria Allred, who represents five women allegedly assaulted by Epstein, said the Duke of York has “a moral obligation” to meet with the FBI and that his failure to do so was “a disservice to the victims”.
“It’s long overdue for him to do it, or to explain why he will not do it, and he’s done neither,” she told BBC Radio.
“If he’s done nothing wrong, which appears to be what he has claimed, then why won’t he talk to law enforcement?”
Andrew, 59, has strenuously denied claims he had sex with a 17-year-old girl procured by Epstein, a disgraced financier found dead in prison last August while awaiting charges of trafficking minors.
Queen Elizabeth II’s second son, who was a long-time friend of his, 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 Epstein, said Andrew was yet to respond to a request by the FBI and his office for an interview.
“To date, Prince Andrew has provided zero cooperation,” Berman, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, told reporters.
Berman made the comments during a news conference outside Epstein’s former Manhattan mansion, which Andrew has admitted staying at.
He said he would not normally comment on whether individuals were cooperating but made an exception for the prince because of his statement offering help.
“It’s fair for people to know whether Prince Andrew has followed through with that public commitment,” said Berman.
Buckingham Palace has not immediately respond to request for comment.
- ‘Have you seen this prince?’ –
Epstein, a multi-millionaire hedge fund manager, was convicted in Florida in 2008 of paying young girls for massages but served just 13 months in jail under a secret plea deal.
The 66-year-old, who befriended countless celebrities over the years including US President Donald Trump, killed himself in a New York jail in August while awaiting trial on new sex-trafficking charges
He had denied the charges and was facing up to 45 years in jail if found guilty.
Determined to obtain justice despite his death, dozens of women who say they were abused by Epstein have sued his estate while prosecutors have pledged to pursue any accomplices.
Andrew, who is eighth in line to the British throne, has long been dogged by his links to the convicted paedophile, having stayed at his various homes around the world.
He stepped back from royal duties in November after facing outrage over an unconvincing interview with the BBC in which he defended the friendship with Epstein.
The scandal has engulfed Andrew at a difficult time for the royal family, following Prince Harry and Meghan’s decision to withdraw as frontline royals and other crises.
British newspapers on Tuesday prominently featured the latest turmoil.
“FBI: Why won’t Andrew speak to us?” screamed the front page of the Daily Mail, while the Daily Mirror said: “Andrew snubs FBI”.
Meanwhile best-selling tabloid The Sun mocked up an FBI “missing person” report for Andrew on its front page, asking: “Have you seen this prince?”